Man Claiming Wife’s Murder Kills Himself

May 22, 1947

Before shooting himself in the head today, 29-year-old carpenter Rollin Albert Starkey told his mother-in-law, Mrs. Myrtle Foley, that he had choked her daughter Betty in their cabin near Lake Arrowhead. As if unsure that he could count on a woman to do anything, he then phoned police telling them much the same thing.

Investigators J.E. Hamilton and C.J. Bright of Harbor Police Station reported that Starkey confessed that several days earlier he had killed Mrs. Starkey while they were at their Dogwood Canyon cabin making repairs, and had returned to their home at 1610 N. Marine Ave., Wilmington yesterday. By the time officers arrived at the Marine Ave. apartment, Starkey was near death with a bullet in the brain; he died soon after at Wilmington Receiving Hospital.

San Bernardino Sheriff James W. Stocker sent Chief Criminal Deputy Harry Heap up to Dogwood Canyon to have a look. In the Starkey cabin, Heap discovered the deceased Mrs. Starkey, sprawled on the living room floor in an incongruous costume of playsuit, sandals and fur coat, a noose made from a pair of nylon stockings around her throat. There were no signs of a struggle in the cabin.

The cause and further circumstances of the murder and what Starkey had been doing since committing it remain mysterious. If Mrs. Foley knows anything more, she’s not talking.