Remembering Armida Wiltsey

Karen Davis writes of Armida Wiltsey, whose 1978 killing was solved through DNA analysis:

Armida Wiltsey
My family has been following the news stories since the real killer was
found and each time I read another update, the angrier I became as more
and more time and attention has been given to him with only a few lines
dedicated to his victims.  And unfortunately, this is typically how
these sad stories are told. Wouldn't our world be a different place if
the opposite were true.

I was a child when we lived next door to the Wiltseys. And my detailed
memories of Armida are those of a child. We lived in a small town out
past Indio and often my mother, Armida, her son, my sister and I would
go into town to by groceries.  Often we would stop for lunch at the
local Mexican restaurants. Armida ordered chicken taquitos for me and
she showed me how to eat them with guacamole. It was a new and
delicious treat! She also showed us where to buy the most wonderful
homemade tamales from the street vendors. She was always concerned for
us and I was always happy to be with her.

My broader memories of her were that as a close friend to my  mother.
Mr. Wiltsey and my father worked together and they often worked many
long hours. My mother was very lonely living in small town out in the
middle of the desert. Armida became a close friend to my mother. I
remember them laughing and the warmth of their friendship. When Mr.
Wiltsey was transferred to Oakland, I remember how sad my mother was
when Armida moved away.

The sad legacy of her murder stays with me as well.  The late night
phone call, trying to get details of what happened, the shock and
disbelief…and the helplessness we felt for her son and husband. We
could not begin to comprehend what her loss and the horrible way she
died, meant to them.

Karen Davis

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in #courts, Homicide, LAPD, Obituaries. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Remembering Armida Wiltsey

  1. My daughter Karen was only 10 years old when we moved next door to the Wiltsey’s in Desert Center, Ca. It is amazing to me that a child has such wonderful memories of a lady who was my friend. It proves just how special Armida Wiltsey was. Children know when someone is sincere and kind to them.
    It was difficult living on the desert and Armida was gracious enough to show me how to make it easier. We were both stay at home mom’s and had a lot of fun making trips to town, 100 miles round trip, just to buy our groceries for the week. She always had a way of making it into an adventure, showing me the places to shop and how to get around loading your ice chest for the trip home. She introduced me to her many friends and made me feel so welcome. Everybody in the small community knew her and loved her.
    Armida loved to decorate her home and kept it spotless. She would play golf at 6 am just to beat the desert heat. She was very smart, funny, and always had that beautiful smile for you. She was an amazing hostess and nothing was ever too much for her to do for her family. Her husband liked to be spontaneous and bring a few friends, bosses, vendor’s or neighbor’s home for drinks and dinner. She was always ready to entertain, feed and enjoy the company. There were times we would have to raid my house to come up with more food but Armida always took things in stride and would do the best she could.
    It was a sad day when she told me they would be moving to Pleasanton, Ca., as her husband was being promoted. She was so happy to be leaving the desert for such a wonderful new place and looked forward sharing that with her son Jeff, who was only 6 or 7 at that time. We planned a big “goodbye”party for them, inviting many people from out of town. The day of the party we had a freak tornado storm hit our community. The roads were flooded, the main highway was closed, making it impossible to travel to the party. The electricity was out, the temperature was hovering around 110 degrees and tons of food was getting warm. I asked Armida if she thought we should cancel the party and her reply was “no, let’s have the party, and who ever makes it can sweat with the rest of us” It was a fun night with so many people from our little area coming out just to be with Armida and Boyd for the last time before they moved.
    I will always miss Armida as I have a special place in my heart for her. She was easy to love and a very good friend.
    Lorida “Rita” Kovacs


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