Caretaker Held in Baby Case

May 1. 1947
Los Angeles

All Mrs. Florence Owens wanted was a place to leave 18-month-old Dale and 3-month-old Margaret while she was at her new job–the one she had to take after separating from her husband, the merchant marine. Mrs. Marian Billingsley seemed nice enough, and she said Dale and Margaret would be no trouble; she’d just watch them like she watched the old folks already parked in her nursing home at 1327 El Segundo Blvd.

And so Flo dropped her little darlings off on April 15 and worked two weeks straight, never stopping to visit, even though she lived just five miles away at 1600 Redondo Beach Blvd.

But give a neglectful, overwhelmed mom some credit. When she did finally stop by, she immediately noticed evidence of torture on her eldest tyke– the scarred ears, the scratches, the welts and bruises on his hips and back–and rushed him to the Sheriff’s Vermont substation. Dale was taken to Torrance General Hospital, and Mrs. Billingsley to County Jail on charges of child neglect and unjustifiable punishment of a child.

Published by

Kim Cooper

Kim Cooper is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including The Real Black Dahlia. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons and forensic science seminars of LAVA- The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.

Leave a Reply