Woman’s Body Found in Trunk at Union Station, May 6, 1944


May 6, 1944, Trunk Murder

May 6, 1944

An old trunk wrapped with wire and tied with rope arrives at Union Station, where people noticed that it was leaking — and smelled. Sent to the repair department for inspection, the trunk was opened by Eugene Biledeau, who discovered a woman’s body wrapped in a sheet.

The victim had been dead about six days and was described as a young, 5-3 brunette, weighing 130 pounds. She was wearing a girdle, bra, slip and white bobby socks, with fingernails painted a “brilliant red,” The Times said. She had curlers in her hair.


May 6, 1944, Trunk Murder

image image

Soloyo/Soylo/Soyolo Villegas, left, and his wife, Louise.

The trunk had been sent from Chicago’s Dearborn station by a “swarthy, middle-aged man” who identified himself as John Lopez and was accompanied by a boy about 13 years old.

Detectives suspected the victim might be Toni Lopez, 3815 Maple Ave., who vanished Aug. 28, 1943.

Using fingerprints, the FBI eventually identified the body as Louise C. Myers of Myrtle Miss., and police began searching for a man identified as Soloyo/Soylo/Soyolo Villegas, 26, of Chicago.

On May 9, 1944, Villegas was arrested in Crystal City, Texas, at the home of his mother and admitted killing his wife during an argument. Both had been drinking heavily. At one point, she went to a dance by herself and returned to their apartment and asked Villegas for a divorce, he said.

“I tried to talk her into staying with me, but she picked up a pair of scissors and said she would kill me if I didn’t sign the paper. I took the scissors away from her and she began to hit me,” Villegas said.

He said they began fighting and he knocked her out. When he was unable to awaken her, he decided she was dead.

He said he got into bed with her but woke up several hours later and put the body in the trunk.

A search of the Chicago Tribune shows that Villegas was sentenced Aug. 31, 1944, but without access to the archives, I’m unable to say what the sentence was.


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1944, Crime and Courts, LAPD and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Woman’s Body Found in Trunk at Union Station, May 6, 1944

  1. Cal and Lulu says:

    Interesting story. Digressing from the story a moment, notice the Detectives with hats on, in the photo were dressed as seemingly everybody in those days like many of the criminals they pursued, as were “press reporters” during that era. How could anybody tell who were the bad guys and who were the good guys? Your assignment “Mr. Editor” if you choose to take it, is:
    to determine when, time/year, did these guys out west quit wearing hats? Or, for that matter, matter, the general population. Was it the early 1950’s? Who cares? It must have been a significant style change that had to be devastating to the “mens hat” industry.


  2. lapdm9238 says:

    Hats have made a mini come back in some of the younger generations. I see many “Stingy Brim” hats on tattooed young guys lately. Of course straw hats for the older guys who need to shade the sun from their cancer prone faces. I like my Hillbilly Moonshiners hat or my “Sailor” (Italian Boatman hat of the early 1900’s) stars hat too at car shows. I doubt that hats will ever be popular like they were, kind of went the way of the tie and coat.


  3. The popular story is that hats declined in the early 60’s because JFK didn’t like to wear hats, and so the image of a hatless man became associated with youth and popularity. However, the JFK library claims that’s a myth (though they admit JFK disliked hats). It does seem like the fashion did fade during that decade, though.


    • lmharnisch says:

      When I went through the photos of the inauguration, I noticed that JFK did ditch his top hat partway through the inaugural. (Ike kept his on, as I recall). I’m old enough to remember that era and most men quit wearing hats in the early 1960s.

      I occasionally see well-dressed businessmen/lawyers in downtown Los Angeles with great hats — who know how to wear them. And they look sharp. I’m thankful that the backward baseball cap — and the accompanying fanny pack — has all but disappeared. Next on my list of fashion laws: no more T-shirt/cargo shorts combos.


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