Black L.A., 1947: ‘Milk Bottle Murder’ – Couple’s Fight Ends in Death


Feb. 20, 1947, Milk Bottle Murder

Feb. 20, 1947: Lois Ellis, victim of the “Milk Bottle Murder.”

Feb. 20, 1947, Milk Bottle Murder

1207 E. 47th St., Los Angeles

The neighborhood of 1207 E. 47th St. via Google Street View.

From his bed in the jail ward of county hospital, Sam Ellis told of killing his wife, Lois, in a fight and then trying to commit suicide by slashing his wrists and filling the home with natural gas. Her son Ronnie, 5, who was found in the living room, also survived.

The Sentinel said that Sam Ellis, a World War II veteran, returned from the service to learn that Lois had been unfaithful. On the morning of Feb. 17, 1947, he was shaving in the bathroom when he and his wife began arguing. According to the Sentinel, the wife attacked her husband with a butcher knife. He took it away and attacked her with it. Police also found a broken pieces of a milk bottle, covered with blood, but it’s unclear from the story how bottle figured in the killing.

Radio Officers Ed Hoxie and W. Marks of the Newton Division answered a call at a group of bungalows on East 47th Street, but found that the house was locked. They broke into the bungalow when they were called a second time by a Southern California Gas employee who reported smelling gas in the area. The officers discovered that the living room was covered with blood and that “clothing and furniture had been disarranged.”

Feb. 20, 1947, Milk Bottle Murder

Police Officer Ed Hoxie of the Newton Division holds a bloody milk bottle top found at the crime scene.

The Los Angeles Times, of course, never reported this killing and the Sentinel didn’t follow up on its story, so we don’t know the outcome.

Feb. 20, 1947, Milk Bottle Murder
Lois Ellis’ body is removed from the home.

According to California death records, Lois Carmela Ellis was born April 14, 1924, in Oklahoma.


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, African Americans, Crime and Courts, LAPD and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply. Note: Your IP is logged with your comment so a fake name and email address are useless.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s