Attack in Griffith Park

July 27, 1957
Los Angeles

I’m going to describe a neighborhood and you guess where it is:

Gay women living together, speaking Armenian and working for nonprofits. (OK, I’m exaggerating slightly). Also lots of foreign-born urbanites and “makin’ it singles.”

That’s right, Los Feliz, at least according to Zillow.

And “They tend to have a modest income relative to housing cost.”

Los Feliz?

I’m looking up 2000 N. Berendo because strange things are afoot at the Dunn household. Very strange.

Nine years after her mother, Eleanor, vanished, Lynn Eleanor Dunn, 18, says a man forced her to drive to Griffith Park and attacked her following a series of threatening letters and lewd phone calls.

Just to make things interesting, her father is Linwood G. Dunn, special effects cinematographer who worked on “King Kong,” “Citizen Kane” and many other films.

Let’s go back to May 28, 1948. Eleanor Winifred Dunn, 35, the mother of four children, got in a cab at Fairfax  Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, never to be seen again. She was wearing a gray suit and green coat, and wasn’t carrying any money, The Times said. There are no further stories about her, so we don’t know if she was ever found.

In 1957, Lynn Dunn, who was about 9 when her mother vanished, told police the following story: She had been receiving threatening letters, one a week for the last five weeks. The first letters threatened her life while the later ones made “indecent proposals,” according to The Times. She also began receiving anonymous phone calls from a man who asked her to meet him in Griffith Park.

On July 26, 1957, she was returning home from her job as a telephone service representative when a gunman allegedly jumped into her car while she was stopped at New Hampshire and Finley avenues. Dunn said the man forced her to drive to Griffith Park, dragged her down a 300-foot embankment, beat her, kicked her, ripped her clothes, gave her some yellow pills and tried to attack her but apparently changed his mind.

She fainted when the man fled and was found four hours later by her brother-in-law, James George, 4706 Ambrose St. Her fiance, Don Hendricks, 23, 5333 South St., Glendale, discovered her car parked on Mount Hollywood Drive half a mile west of Griffith Observatory.

Authorities were looking for leads in the Marjorie Hipperson and Ruth Goldsmith killings, so in an attempt to catch the attacker, she agreed to meet a man who called her. She drove to Griffith Park with an FBI agent hidden in the trunk (recall that this is Los Angeles in July), but the man never appeared.

There are no more stories about Lynn Dunn. On Nov. 3, 1957, The Times list of marriage licenses included a Hendricks and Dunn, so they presumably went ahead with their wedding plans.

Beyond that, we simply don’t know. It’s easy to guess that Dunn’s missing mother would resurface if she saw the news stories about the attack, but there’s nothing to show that she did.

Linwood Gale Dunn died in 1998 at the age of 93.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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