Mary Louise Cannon, 75, a widow, lived in Arcadia, less than two miles from where Miss Higgins was murdered.
Her husband died two years ago, and she had fought off two bouts of cancer. But she was an independent woman who had the strength to rebound.
Born on a farm near Downey, Cannon attended business school and married Darrel Cannon, a local horse trainer, and kept books for their business.
Planning Overseas Trip
Mrs. Cannon, who enjoyed needlepoint, her roses and visiting with her five granddaughters, had recently redecorated her house with new carpeting and furniture. She was looking forward to a trip to Australia with a senior citizens' group.
On July 1, she was in a minor traffic accident. Her car was damaged, and a police officer gave her a ride home.
The next morning a neighbor went into her house after finding that a screen had been pulled off a front window. He called police after he found belongings strewn about the place.
Police found Mrs. Cannon in the back of the house, with her throat slit.
Two months later, her son said that the horror of the murder really hit when he visited the house. "I saw all the fingerprint powder all over the walls and large chunks of her new carpeting dug up by police as evidence."