Fifty years ago, Joseph Phelan let his younger sister tag along on his first date with the woman he eventually married.
Dawn Marie Ritz sat in the back seat of the car at the Lancaster drive-in movie theater, while Phelan tried to woo his date.
Now 67, Phelan laughed recently at that memory of his developmentally disabled sister, always happy and delightful. “She was pretty good at the show,” he recalled. Though the siblings were close — “she was like my shadow,” said Phelan, who lives in Idaho — the last time he saw Ritz was in 2008.
In the early hours of May 14, his 61-year-old sister was found dead in a Granada Hills care facility, allegedly stabbed by another...