Pass the Bromo, Please

January 1, 1928
Los Angeles

A year ago prohibition agents observed that "last-minute calls for holiday cheer" skyrocketed on New Year’s Eve, so this year detective chief George Contreras and his men staked out area roadhouses. When "suspicious-looking characters" drove up, they were searched. Five flivvers were confiscated and thirty bootleggers arrested—and yet heads are splitting all over Los Angeles this morning for, despite the last minute roundup, the hooch flowed freely last night.

Indeed, by 7 o’clock this morning, the Coroner’s Office and Receiving Hospital listed two dead, eight critically—perhaps fatally—injured, and another seventy people slightly hurt in booze-fueled traffic accidents, including a pedestrian who was "partially scalped" in a hit-and-run at 39th and Vermont.

Over at 1827 W. 78th Place, Justus Gunn woke up after the party he and his wife hosted for their friends and discovered that his wife was missing. Gunn told police he "retired [or passed out?] as the guests were leaving" and didn’t notice the little woman was gone until this morning. Friends didn’t know where she was, and Gunn declared there had been "no quarrels or disagreements which might explain her sudden departure." There was no further mention of Mrs. Gunn in the pages of the Times, so whatever the cause of her disappearance, it probably wasn’t criminal.

More ominously, 14-year-old Florence Ellison left her father’s house (723 Bonnie Beach Place) yesterday afternoon to visit her mother (522 Clifton Street). Around 7:30 last night, Florence rang the doorbell at 620 South Wilton Place and told C.R. Morrison she was lost. Morrison drove Florence to the streetcar, gave her directions, then returned home and called Florence’s mother. But Florence never arrived.

Epilogue: Florence Ellison was found, fatigued and possibly drugged, on January 2. She told police that after becoming lost, she joined the New Year’s celebrations downtown where she met cabdriver Edmund D. Kearney at about midnight. They had drinks, and after a drive through Chinatown, Florence spent the night at his apartment. Kearney was held on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. No information was given as to just how Florence spent New Year’s Day.

A Woman of Many Names—And Almost A New Face

June 26, 2007
Los Angeles

O! What a tangled web some weave when first they practice to deceive their spouses. A few days ago, Theodore A. Kocotis returned home to an empty house—his wife, Carrie, was missing. Five long days later, there came a telephone call:  Carrie Kocotis was desperately ill in a Santa Monica sanatorium, the result of a “face-lifting” operation. Kocotis made haste, but his wife died before he arrived.

The grieving widower hired Attorney Earl S. Wakeman to start probate proceedings. But instead of a few pennies’ worth of pin money squirreled away here and there, Wakeman discovered $10,000 in chattel (almost $120,000 in 2007 dollars). And then there were the aliases. As Carrie L. Brody, Mrs. Kocotis acted as a housemother in a sorority; she conducted other business under the names of Carrie Sullivan and Carrie L. Williams. Her safety deposit box was rented in the name of Carrie Wright, and it was there she stored her jewels and securities.

Wakeman announced today that he intends to see that the events surrounding Mrs. Kocotis’s untimely demise are fully investigated by the District Attorney.