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Woman disappears

July 23, 2008 |  1:52 am

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3714 W. Pico Blvd., via Google maps' street view

  July 23, 1958

Dropcap_r_witness1958_0723_ruth_mercadouth lived in a room at the Shari Hotel, 3714 W. Pico, that she shared with a little dog and a couple of parakeets. The landlord realized she hadn't been around for a few days, and when he checked on her, he found her pets were nearly dead.

But nothing was written about her until October, when he was finally caught. The Times said investigators searching her belongings learned that she had been a "wartime member of the WAF" and was originally from Plattsburgh, N.Y.* Apparently she worked as a stripper and a model, using the name Angela Rojas. The most important thing about Ruth was that unlike the other victims, she could disappear and no one would notice.

The only person The Times interviewed about her was someone who took her newspaper ads: "She was a seemingly clean-cut, nice kid who was anything but the kind of person you'd expect in that kind of business. She was reliable, the sort who always paid her bills on time."

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* The Times gave Ruth's age as 24 and California death records say she was born Dec. 19, 1933. If she had served in World War II she would have been much older. Possibly she served during the Korean War.