'Similarities' Studied in Series of Killings

Times Staff Writers

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Glendale police are investigating a possible connection between the July 20 murders of an elderly Glendale couple and a string of five killings and four attacks in the West San Gabriel Valley.

Although Glendale police emphasize that they have no direct link between the San Gabriel Valley homicides and the murders of Glendale residents Maxson C. Kneiding, 68, and his wife, Lela Ellen, 66, they say there are "similarities."

Captain Glynn Martin, commander of the Glendale Police Department's investigative services division, said the similarities are "in the age group, the type of violence used and the time of night of the crime."

Martin refused to give any other details about the similarities, saying, "At this point, it is vital we maintain the integrity of the investigation and not compromise the nature of any evidence we may have."

But, he said, the similarities are significant enough to prompt the Glendale Police Department to "swap notes" with the Sheriff's Department, which is handling the investigation of the San Gabriel Valley murders.

The Kneidings were found shot to death in their bed about 9 a.m. July 20. Martin said they were probably killed sometime between 2 and 4 that morning.

The string of crimes began May 14 in Monterey Park when William Doi, 65, was shot to death and his wife raped. On June 1, Mabel Bell, 83, and her sister, Florence Lang, 81, who shared a Monrovia home, were found bludgeoned. Bell died July 15; Lang is still hospitalized in critical condition. On June 28, Patty Elaine Higgins, 32, was found dead in her Arcadia home with her throat slashed, and on July 2, Mary Cannon, 75, another Arcadia resident, was found dead in her home with her throat slashed.

On July 5, a 16-year-old Sierra Madre girl was attacked. On July 7, Joyce Nelson, 61, was bludgeoned to death in her Monterey Park home and a few hours later, police say, a 65-year-old Monterey Park woman was raped. All attacks took place in the victims' homes, apparently in the early morning.

Martin said he believes that more than one person entered the Kneidings' home the night they were murdered. That would be inconsistent with the San Gabriel Valley murders, which authorities believe were committed by one person.

Monterey Park police have distributed a composite drawing and description of the suspect in the Joyce Nelson murder. He is white, aged 25 to 30, about 6 feet tall, weighs 160 pounds and has brown curly hair.

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