A-Bomb Doom to Hang Over Bikini For Decades

March 24, 1947

Today in New York, Col. Stafford Warren, M.D., chief of medical and radiological safety of last summer’s Crossroads Operation, now Dean of the UCLA Medical School, predicted that Bikini Lagoon and its twenty islands should remain depopulated for decades, at the very least, until radiation returns to safe levels.

Husband Kills Bride and Self After Quarrel

Douglas Wiggins, 24, a milkman, shot and killed Gladys, his 18-year-old wife of four months, then killed himself Friday night.

Friends and relatives told police that Mrs. Wiggins was suffering from anemia, and had urged her husband to accompany her on a trip home to Colo, Iowa, where they were married. This was the only known source of disagreement between the couple, who lived in a tiny furnished room over Mrs. Georgia Blattenberg’s garage (2527 1/2 S. Orange Dr.).

The murder weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, had been taken from its hiding place behind pictures on Mrs. Blattenberg’s mantle.

Husband Kills Self After Phoning Wife

March 21, 1947
Los Angeles

Robert Duff, 27, was looking for his wife, Ruth. He located her by telephone, in her attorney’s office where she’d gone to discuss a separation. “So that’s where you’ve gone,” he said. “If that’s the way it is, you’ll never see me again.”

Mr. Duff hung up, and William Esterman, his wife’s attorney, called police. When they arrived at the Duff home (1116 Waterloo St.) they found Robert Duff’s body on the living room floor, a .38 revolver nearby. Elsewhere in the house were the couple’s young son and daughter.

Woman Faces Stabbing Death Trial After Inquest

March 19, 1947
Los Angeles

Ruth “Sunny” McKenzie today was formally charged in the stabbing death of fiance Jack Floyd, and Torrance Police Captain E. M. Ashton provided a Coronor’s jury with additional details of the attack. He stated that, according to Miss McKenzie, the pair had just enjoyed a private dinner in her apartment, and were discussing their nuptials, planned for April 13.

“Just think, baby, in another month I’ll be a hanged man,” whispered the victim.

“No you won’t,” replied Sunny, “You’ll be a stabbed man.” She told Ashton that she meant to suggest her beloved would be pierced with arrows of love, but as it happens, she had a knife in her hand at the time.

McKenzie, who declined to testify, also told Aston that with his last breath, Jack Floyd had assured her that he still loved her.

Man in St. Louis Says He Killed Miss Short

March 18, 1947
St. Louis, MO

Melvin Bailey, 25, interrupted his own interrogation for car theft today, telling police, “Let’s forget about cars. I’ve got something hot. Let me tell you about the murder.”

Bailey claimed that he had been out on a date with Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles in January, during which he consumed a cocktail of coffee and Benzedrine. When Miss Short declined his offer of a trip to the East, he struck her head with the butt of a Marine combat knife. He then bissected the young lady in the back of a stolen car parked in the manufacturing district, dumping the remains in the notorious vacant lot at 39th and Norton.

From there, Bailey claimed, he drove to the home of acquaintance William E. Hughes (1710 Cerritos Ave., Long Beach), changed into one of Hughes’ suits, caught a bus to San Francisco, and later moved on to St. Louis. When reached by police, Hughes said he hadn’t seen Bailey in six months, had found no bloody clothing in his home, nor was one of his suits missing. However, Hughes’ landlady, Mrs. Ellen Scaife did recall a man matching Bailey’s description attempting to enter Hughes’ home around the time of Short’s murder.

Police Captain Jack Donahoe was quoted as saying Bailey was a “very good suspect.”

Wounded Husband Held After Marital Battle

March 16, 1947
Los Angeles

Navy vet Fletcher E. Talley Jr., 32, hospitalized twice last year at the VA on Sawtelle for psychiatric reasons, was arrested shortly after midnight on suspicion of assault to commit murder after police were called to his home at 1533 1/2 E. 76th Place.

Talley claimed his recent gunshot wounds (through the right leg above the knee and through the right thumb) were the result of accidental horseplay. His wife Virginia, 33, countered that Talley had ripped off her blouse, tried to strangle her with a light cord and had pulled the phone from the wall. Fletcher admitted he had spent part of the evening dissecting the living room divan with a paring knife, but denied Virginia’s claim that he had said “As soon as I finish this, you will be next.” Virginia said she then retrieved the gun, hidden in her daughter’s room, and fired three times at Fletcher.

Virginia Fletcher was not held.

Drive Launched by Jurist to Help “Psycho” Veterans

March 15, 1947
Los Angeles

Superior Judge Dudley S. Valentine, head of L.A. County Superior Court’s psychopathic department, announced today a campaign to force the V.A. to admit metally ill ex-soldiers in greater numbers. Presently, the V.A requires proof that a veteran’s illness is service-connected before providing treatment. At the V.A. hospital on Sawtelle, there are 1750 beds and a waiting list of more than 1200.

Valentine told the L.A. Times that 25% of those sent to state prisons from the L.A. County courts are WW2 veterans, many of them psychopaths ineligible for treatment by the V.A. Those convicts sent to state mental hospitals are forever barred from civil service employment due to rules forbidding ex-mental patients from applying; this does not hold true for patients in V.A. hospitals.

West Covina Police Chief Shot in Mystery Gun Duel

March 14, 1947
Los Angeles

West Covina Chief of Police John T. Brown, 30, of 820 Channing Street, was shot in the side this evening, while seeking to question two men driving a sedan containing what Chief Brown believed to be the bound body of a woman in the back seat. Brown, who became Chief 18 months ago after serving in the infantry, claims that several nights earlier he had found a woman’s nightgown and some gunny sacks hanging in an orange grove in the Vanderhoff tract, 1/4 mile south of Garvey Blvd. For several nights, he had staked the location out, awaiting suspicious activity.

Shortly after midnight tonight, Chief Brown arrived at the location and saw a 1937 or 1938 sedan parked in the area. Drawing his revolver, he crept up and peeked into the back window, seeing the woman, which he could not identify as being alive or dead. One story holds that the driver then pulled out a revolver and fired, striking Chief Brown with what proved to be a flesh wound. Another version of the incident has the driver disarming Chief Brown and shooting him with his own gun.

Authorities noted that murder victims Betty (Black Dahlia) Short, Mrs. Jeanne French and Evelyn Winters were all transported from their death scenes to dump sites by automobile, and speculated that the West Covina pair might be involved in those cases.

Man Stabbed Fatally As He Protests Fidelity

March 13, 1947

Ruth “Sunny” McKenzie, 29, of 1221 El Prado Ave., Torrance, was being held at the Torrance City Jail on suspicion of murder after an incident in her third floor apartment. McKenzie was arguing with her fiance, 30-year-old salesman Jack C. Floyd, about his fondness for another girl at the chemical plant where they both worked.

McKenzie claimed that Floyd fell to his knees while McKenzie sat in a kitchen chair, hugging his assailant and proclaiming that he loved only her. “I was just playing around with the bread knife, which was lying on the drainboard within reach of my hand. I really didn’t mean to stab him. It was an accident.”

Floyd, who lived with his mother in an apartment on the second floor of the building, was allegedly awaiting finalization of his divorce from Mrs. Muriel Floyd of Gardena before marrying Miss McKenzie. Two nights before her son’s death, Mrs. Faye Marie Floyd expressed missgivings about Miss McKenzie, to which she says he replied “Don’t worry, mother. I have no intention of marrying the girl.”