Paul V. Coates–Confidential File

June 3, 1957

SUBJECT’S NAME: Lester Eugene Davis.

SUBJECT’S DESCRIPTION: Age 42. Height, 6 feet. Weight, average. Light brown hair. Brown eyes.

person with information as to subject’s whereabouts is requested to
contact his daughter, Barbara Davis Chilton, 11812 Philips St.,

Barbara Davis Chilton is 16 years old. She’s slim and blond and soft of speech.

She’s a pretty girl and looks her age, but her demeanor tips off an early maturity of her mind.

When I talked to her the other day, I sensed that the maturity wasn’t easy in coming. And that it had only recently arrived.

meeting Barbara, I had received a letter from her sister-in-law giving
me a little background on the girl and her missing father.

the letter said, "has never seen her father and I feel that if she
could find him she would have the happiness she honestly deserves."

The letter stated that Barbara came from a broken home and that her
father had made attempts to see his daughter when she was young.

But had never succeeded.

"The girl’s life hasn’t been an enviable one," the sister-in-law wrote.
"She has lived in foster homes, with relatives and friends and has a
long record for running away."

The letter also mentioned that last December Barbara ran away from a foster home again–to marry 21-year-old Jack Chilton.

"Her marriage has been approved by the court now," it said, "and has every possibility of being a very happy one."

The letter left a few questions unanswered.

And I asked them of Barbara.

"First of all," I said, "tell me all you know about your father."

She told me that her parents split up shortly before she was born.

"He stayed in the Inglewood area for a while but eventually, I’ve been told, went to Indianapolis. He was a race car mechanic."

She added that his mother, Linda Davis, used to live in San Bernardino.

"But I don’t know if she still does."

I asked Barbara where she received her information.

"From neighbors, and some from my mother’s parents."

"Did your mother ever talk about him?"

"No. She didn’t want me to see him."

"Do you think she knows where he is?"

"No, not any more."

"Barbara, your sister-in-law wrote me that you’ve never seen him. Is that right?"

"That’s…," she started. "I don’t know. Once, when I was living with
my mother on Inglewood Avenue a man came to the house who might have
been him. I was 10 at the time."

"What happened?"

"I was in the bedroom when the doorbell ran. I went to answer it but my
mother told me to go back into the bedroom and close the door.

"My mother and the man talked in the living room and I heard her ask him:

" ‘How did you find us?’ "

"I opened the door a little bit and peeked at him."

"What did he look like? I asked.

"He looked…" she began. Then she broke into a smile. "At least I think he looked quite a bit like me.

"I asked my mother and she said it was just a friend."

"Does your mother know that you’re looking for your father now?" I asked.

Maybe Barbara didn’t hear the question.

"You know," she said, "if I could find him I think he’d like Jack, my husband.

"You see, Jack is a mechanic too."

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Columnists, Paul Coates and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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