Sept. 15, 1941: The murder house is on one of those narrow, curving streets above Silver Lake Reservoir, 2153 Moreno Drive. Her husband came home from work and found her beaten to death in a closet. Her name was Florence A. Stricker, 42. The newspapers called her an heiress and said she was worth a fortune, although estimates ranged from $250,000 to $1 million. The whole house was ransacked and several diamond rings and a diamond Masonic pin were missing.
Her husband was Dr. George H. Stricker, who ran some sort of “drugless clinic” at 1235 W. 6th St. He found her in a closet in the front entryway when he came home from work about 6 that night.
About 9 that morning, Stricker met with Ernest G. Booth, a ex-con who became a mystery writer while serving time in Folsom for bank robbery and forgery. Booth’s wife, Valverda, was put on probation for altering records when she was trying to get him released. Booth was finally paroled due to bad health.
Booth said he went by Stricker’s office to talk about a story he was writing on physiotherapy. Afterward, Booth took a drive up Roosevelt Highway, parked along the beach above Sunset Boulevard and read the manuscript. Then he went home, had lunch with his wife and stayed there the rest of the day.
He called Stricker about 6 p.m. with more questions for his story. Stricker told him his wife had been killed.
Florence Stricker was apparently a secretive woman. Although they had been married 12
14 years, her husband didn’t know exactly what she was worth or how much real estate she owned.
Police held Booth for questioning, apparently on the theory that he was an ex-con and had talked to Stricker that day. He had also recommended an African American ex-con as a gardener. The man disappeared when Stricker discovered he had a prison record and shortly after that $300 was stolen from Stricker’s desk at his office. All of that apparently added up to suspicion for LAPD homicide detectives in 1941.
Neighbors also reported seeing a man approaching the house about noon with what looked like a tool kit under his arm.
To be continued….