June 23, 1976: William C. Harber and Constance Thorn are found beaten to death in an apartment at 3416 Manning Ave. The case has never been solved.
Several weeks ago, I was given a box of material that was cleaned out of the old press room at the LAPD’s Parker Center headquarters, sometimes called “the cop shop.” The box was a jumble of press releases, photographs, artists’ sketches and other items dating from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. I am organizing and cataloging the material and I’ll be posting selected items on a weekly basis.
March 29, 1977: This is a haunting case and curiously enough, not much was written about it. I only find two articles in The Times.
3550 Wilshire Blvd. via Google Street View.
William C. Harber, 38, and Constance Thorn 28, worked at 3550 Wilshire Blvd. He worked for IBM and she worked for Bowest Mortgage Corp. She was apparently divorced and they had been dating for several months. He was born in Oklahoma and she was born in Ohio, according to California death records.
They were found beaten and stabbed at 3416 Manning Ave., a large apartment complex, June 23, 1976, but apparently had been dead for several days, according to the flier, which gives the death date as June 21, 1976.
The Casa Serena apartments in the 3400 block of Manning Avenue, via Google Street View.
A 1977 Times story says that “Police held Miss Thorn’s ex-husband as suspect but later dropped charges when he presented an alibi.”
A later story quotes Detective Buck Murray: “It appeared to be a hate type of thing.” The mutilated condition of the bodies indicated “an emotional kind of murder.”
What’s especially peculiar in The Times story is this line: “An autopsy showed Harber had died of stab wounds. An autopsy on Miss Thorn was not completed.” Does that mean no autopsy was performed or that one was started but not finished?