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Remembering Armida Wiltsey

July 25, 2009 | 11:00 am

Karen Davis writes of Armida Wiltsey, whose 1978 killing was solved through DNA analysis:

Armida Wiltsey My family has been following the news stories since the real killer was found and each time I read another update, the angrier I became as more and more time and attention has been given to him with only a few lines dedicated to his victims.  And unfortunately, this is typically how these sad stories are told. Wouldn't our world be a different place if the opposite were true.

I was a child when we lived next door to the Wiltseys. And my detailed memories of Armida are those of a child. We lived in a small town out past Indio and often my mother, Armida, her son, my sister and I would go into town to by groceries.  Often we would stop for lunch at the local Mexican restaurants. Armida ordered chicken taquitos for me and she showed me how to eat them with guacamole. It was a new and delicious treat! She also showed us where to buy the most wonderful homemade tamales from the street vendors. She was always concerned for us and I was always happy to be with her.

My broader memories of her were that as a close friend to my  mother. Mr. Wiltsey and my father worked together and they often worked many long hours. My mother was very lonely living in small town out in the middle of the desert. Armida became a close friend to my mother. I remember them laughing and the warmth of their friendship. When Mr. Wiltsey was transferred to Oakland, I remember how sad my mother was when Armida moved away.

The sad legacy of her murder stays with me as well.  The late night phone call, trying to get details of what happened, the shock and disbelief...and the helplessness we felt for her son and husband. We could not begin to comprehend what her loss and the horrible way she died, meant to them.

Karen Davis