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Murder-suicide

November 16, 2007 |  8:28 am

 

1957_1115_england

Nov. 15, 1957
Los Angeles

Your name is Leonard Jackola. You're 43 and here on a visit from Chicago, staying with your younger sister, Mary, 30, and her family at 3634 E. 177th St., Torrance. Her husband, Arthur E. England, 37, is an engineer at Northrop and they have two children, Melissa, 6, and Timothy, 3.

You are going out with a neighbor and plan to return about midnight. Arthur has just bought a house trailer for $325 ($2,328.72 USD 2006) and hitched it to the family's car. He put some of his clothing in the vehicle and packed a suitcase that he put in the trailer.

765_mauser When you get home about midnight, you don't run into anyone, so you go to bed and wake up at 8 a.m. There's no sign of your sister or brother-in-law, so you make breakfast for the children and send Melissa off to school while Timothy plays in the neighborhood.

Hours pass and there's no sign of Arthur or Mary. At first you thought they were sleeping late, but you eventually discover that their bedroom door is locked. Finally, about 2 p.m., you get a stepladder and when you peer in the bedroom window you see both of them are dead.

Torrance police open the door and find that Arthur apparently shot Mary with a Mauser rifle, then tried to slash his throat. When that failed, he put the barrel of the Mauser in his mouth and--well, you can imagine what happened.

There was no suicide note, but police found $825 in cash stacked on the dresser, along with $650 in Savings Bonds.  We can infer that Arthur planned to leave home but the news story doesn't shed any light on the question.

And no, you didn't hear an argument or the two rifle shots. It's a miracle that a bullet didn't go through a wall and hit someone. (I'm assuming Arthur had some variation of a 7.65 millimeter Argentine Mauser, ammo shown above).

The Times never followed up on this story, so we don't know what became of Leonard or who raised the children. They would be 56 and 53 now. How unimaginably tragic for these youngsters to lose their parents. We can only hope for the best.

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