From the Archives: Murder suspect caught wearing a hat, not hiding behind it

April 25, 1956: Left, L. Ewing Scott shields his face from photographers with his hat. The next day, Scott, right, chats with police, not noticing a miniature camera capturing his image.
(Howard W. Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

After frustrating news photographers by hiding behind his trademark hat, L. Ewing Scott was captured behind bars with a miniature camera, which Scott had failed to notice, held by Times staff photographer Howard Maxwell.

In May 1955, Scott’s wife, Evelyn Throsby Scott, went missing. In March 1956, Evelyn’s brother Raymond Throsby filed a police report on her disappearance. On April 25, 1956, Scott was taken into custody outside a grand jury room after refusing to testify about his wife’s disappearance. Lt. Arthur G. Hertel escorted Scott, who was booked into the West Los Angeles Police Station on suspicion of grand theft. He was accused of looting his wife’s bank accounts.

The photo of Scott hiding behind his hat was published on the front page of the April 26, 1956, Los Angeles Times. Maxwell’s image of Scott was published on Page 2 of the April 27 paper.


Scott was convicted in 1959 of murdering his wife. It was the first murder conviction in U.S. history in which the victim’s body was never located.

After his death in 1987, the Los Angeles Times published an article on L. Ewing Scott titled “Body of Crime.”

The type of miniature camera Maxwell used is not known. The quality of the print in the L.A. Times library indicates it was a 120 mm film camera — a much smaller camera compared with the standard 4- by 5-inch Speed Graphic.

This article was originally published June 5, 2012.

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