Youngster Kept Chained to Bed for Five Months

August 5, 1947
Los Angeles

Mrs. Edith Velasquez, 28, can’t handle her son, but her husband can.

Earl L. Daily is 12, and big and strong as a grown man—unfortunately, he still has the brain and impulse control of a child. When husband Florian, a laborer, is at work, Edith cares for her six other children—Marcellina, 11, Florian, 9, Geraldine, 6, Marie, 5, Winona, 4 and Dickie, 3. And she chains Earl, her child by a previous relationship, to a bed in their 3-room house at 19006 Wilmington Ave.

For the past four years, Edith has been trying to get Earl admitted to the Pacific Colony Home, but the institution hasn’t had room for the boy. Lately he’s taken to running away. So he spends his days padlocked to the bed in the room he shares with five of his siblings, with occasional visits to the yard. He’s only unlocked when his stepfather is home and can control him, and catch him if he runs.

It must have been one of those chained stays in the yard that led to the visit from the juvenile division officers, who came to inquire and learned that Earl and his 6-foot length of chain had been intimate for the past five months. They’re working on arranging a formal committal to an institution, which will leave the Velasquez family free to concentrate on their other children.

Edith expressed hope that Earl might fare better in his new home. “It will be so much better for him there. He’s never been to school, and maybe at the right place they can teach him something. Last year he’d try to get on the school bus with my other children. But the driver knew him and would always send him back home. He’s always talking about school.â€Â

See also: A history of the National Association for Retarded Children (ARC)

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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.

One thought on “Youngster Kept Chained to Bed for Five Months”

  1. “Last Wednesday, I killed a man.â€Â

    Joseph stood tall for the news photographers, with his wife, Lois, by his side, a shock of hair swept down over his forehead, but otherwise neat and trim. They look like somebody’s parents in an old photo at your childhood friend’s house.

    “Last Wednesday, I killed a man,â€Â Joseph told the padre at Clark County Jail in Nevada. He was 24, from North Kittery, Maine, and had been kicked out of the service. She was 21, from New London, Conn.

    They were hitchhiking around the country when they got a ride from James W. McLain, a 48-year-old VA employee who lived—depending on news reports—in either San Fernando, Glendale or Burbank, and was driving by himself to Canada for a vacation.

    It’s not clear where they crossed paths. Maybe Grass Valley, Calif., or over the line in Nevada. Apparently they pulled off somewhere in the woods and Joseph excused himself for a while. Lois passed the time with James by kissing him. That way he wouldn’t notice when Joseph came back to shoot him. Three bullets to the head.

    They wrapped James in an Indian blanket and buried him outside Truckee, and took his car and his $200 to Reno. They drank and gambled the night away, then left for Las Vegas and got married the next day. On Friday, full of champagne and whiskey, they headed for Texas, but Joseph fell asleep and flipped the car.

    Joseph hitchhiked to Boulder City and told his story to police. They found Lois with the wreck. Unable to explain how they got James’ car, they were held by police.

    Then at a jail worship service, Joseph calmly said: “Last Wednesday, I killed a man.â€Â

    Joseph L. Hardy Jr. and Lois Hunt were convicted of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison. She was sentenced to the gas chamber in the “Kiss of Death Murder,â€Â although her name doesn’t appear among the 32 people executed by the state of Nevada.

    Joseph and Lois originally confessed to three murders, but eventually admitted they invented two of them to “glamorizeâ€Â themselves.

    “I wanted to look more of a hero,â€Â Joseph said. “Just one killing made me look like a sissy.â€Â

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