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Mental patient flees

November 20, 2007 |  6:54 pm



Nov. 20-21, 1957
Los Angeles

1952_1210_mary_andrews There are many things we don't know about Mary H. Andrews. We don't know, for example, why Judge Elmer D. Doyle committed her to a Glendale mental hospital in November 1952, the first in a series of psychiatric institutions where she was held for years.

Nor do we know where she kept getting the guns that she used in her escapes.

I haven't quite decided if she was an interesting individual or really, really crazy. Perhaps she was a bit of both. This is her story:

Mary was a licensed airplane pilot and she rode a motorcycle, The Times said.

The newspaper also said she was "mannish looking," 1950s code words for "lesbian."

She ended up on the front of The Times in 1952 (headline above) for what was apparently the first of her escapes. Then 30 years old, she fled the private sanitarium in Glendale and went to the home of her mother, Martha H. Andrews, 2857 Paraiso Way, La Crescenta.

Martha called the sanitarium to report that Mary had come home and sanitarium officials, in turn, contacted Mary's older brother, Randolph H. Andrews, 32, of 479 Riverdale, Glendale.

Randolph headed to his mother's house, having stopped at the sheriff's substation in Montrose to ask for assistance in capturing Mary.

In the meantime, Mary threatened her mother, so Martha gave her a gun. "I gave it to her because it wasn't loaded," Martha told investigators.

Randolph and Deputy Delmer D. Burrow found Mary in her bedroom--armed with the .22-caliber pistol, which she loaded with bullets that she had hidden from her mother.

Mary shot Burrow in the groin and Randolph in the right leg before Deputy John A. Pyle disarmed her. She was charged in the shootings, but The Times failed to follow up on the story. Burrow was hospitalized in serious condition but apparently both men recovered.

It took Mary nearly two years to get another gun and escape, this time from Mendocino State Hospital. Martha had gone to visit Mary and as they were walking the grounds Nov. 2, 1954, Mary pulled a pistol and forced Martha to drive to San Francisco. Once in the city, Mary forced her mother out of the car, saying, "I've got some friends I'm going to see," The Times said.



Informed of the escape, deputies of the Montrose substation put the house on Paraiso Way under surveillance. Deputy William Thorpe said he was especially interested in Mary's motorcycle, which had a dead battery. One day he noticed that the motorcycle was gone and officials issued an alert for it. The motorcycle was located at a repair shop, 4456 Ramsdell Ave., Montrose, and Mary was arrested.

It took her three years, but Mary got another gun and kidnapped her mother from her home in Redondo Beach after escaping from Patton State Hospital. Martha said that she and a friend, Mrs. Nida Bell Priester, were at the home, 601 Emerald St., when Mary abducted the two of them. Mary explained that she had escaped from Patton with two men and needed money "to pay them off before dark or they'll kill me," The Times said.

Martha tried to cash a check for $900 at a savings and loan, but there wasn't enough money to cover the check, so the women went to a nearby bank and got the money.

Near Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, Mary forced the women out of the car, a light blue 1949 Chevrolet four-door sedan, California JVY140.

Unfortunately, that's all we know. The Times never reported on whether Mary was ever recaptured. According to the paid obituaries, funeral services were held for Martha on May 10, 1961, at Wee Kirk o' the Heather at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

If anyone knows any more of this story, please Email me