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Lancaster Girl Held in 3 Slayings Had History of Running Away

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

In May she graduated from the eighth grade. In July her father reported that she had run away from their Lancaster home. Now, in the waning days of August, the wayward 14-year-old girl sits in an Illinois jail cell, accused of taking part in a triple murder.

In what authorities say may have been a case of an auto theft exploding out of control, the girl, a 48-year-old Palmdale man and a 20-year-old Arizona man have been arrested in connection with the slaying of three people in Golden Valley, Ariz.

Mohave County, Ariz., sheriff’s deputies said they have placed the girl at the scene of the killings, but have not determined how involved she might have been.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Gordon Carn, who runs the missing-children detail in the Lancaster area, said the girl’s father reported on July 30 that the girl, who had a history of running away from home, had disappeared the previous day.

In his missing persons report, the girl’s father described his daughter as incorrigible.

“She’s a discipline problem,” he wrote. “She comes and goes whenever she feels like it.”

Earlier this year the girl graduated from Piute Middle School in Lancaster. And although the eighth-grader had a sporadic attendance record, school principal Eugene Premer said she was slated to start high school this fall.

“She had some attendance problems,” Premer said. “But she was relatively quiet and low key.”

Tuesday, she was being held for Arizona authorities in a Chicago-area jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of Roland Wear, his companion, Leta B. Kagen, and her son, Robert Delahunt, 15.

Wear, 50, and Kagen, 37, were found shot to death in their trailer Aug. 15 in Golden Valley, 15 miles west of Kingman. Sheriff’s deputies also found Delahunt stabbed to death in an adjacent trailer.

Mohave County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jody Schanaman said the three had been dead at least two days before officers found the severely decomposed bodies.

Robert Poyson, 20, who lived with them, had disappeared and the couple’s Nissan pickup truck was also gone, Schanaman said.

Deputies immediately sent out a nationwide bulletin on the truck, which was found in a routine traffic stop three days later in Anna, Ill. At the wheel, authorities said, was 48-year-old Frank Anderson, whose wife had reported him missing from their Palmdale home Aug. 3.

Investigators suspect the girl and Anderson knew each other and hitchhiked to Arizona together before splitting up, Schanaman said.

Two days later, Poyson and the girl were captured at a homeless shelter in Evanston, Ill. Officers located them by questioning Anderson and interviewing people who had seen the girl hitchhiking with Poyson.

Anderson was expected to be extradited to Mohave County on Tuesday. Poyson and the teenage girl are scheduled to be extradited in the next few days, Schanaman said. All three are being held on three counts of suspicion of first-degree murder.


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