19 October 1928 – William Edward Hickman
The motive was money and Hickman abducted a girl from school with the express intention of extorting money from her parents by holding them to ransom.
The girl’s name was Marion Parker and she went to school in a wealthy part of Los Angeles. The perpetrator swiped her and proceeded to send her family notes entitled ‘Death’ and simply signed ‘The Fox’, hence his self-titled nickname.
Yet, there was nothing wily about Hickman, for he had bizarrely demanded to be paid in $20 gold certificates, according to Wikipedia. That said, he had chosen his victim carefully, having worked for Parker’s dad previously.
Parker’s dad was a banker, so he was able to get the bonds alright, but that didn’t stop Hickman callously killing the girl anyway. Marion Parker’s body was dumped just down the road from where the ransom had been handed over, according to Martin Fido in his book ‘True Crime’. Poignantly, her strangled body was found by her dad, even more distressingly with her arms and legs cut off.
Eyes wired open
Trutv.com’s Mark Gado goes all out on the gore by stating that Hickman had been carrying the child’s body when he picked up the money from her dad. She’d been wrapped in a blanket, but her eyes had been ‘wired open to appear as if she was still alive’.
Apparently he had also viciously removed her organs, which were later found littered around Los Angeles.
So, what was it all for? Fido reckoned the crime had been carried out for $7,500, but all other sources state $1,500.
For the authorities, the hunt was on and Hickman promptly had a $100,000 reward slapped on his head. That’s where the gold certificates may have made life easier, because the Fox was traced spending his spoils as far away as Washington. But he was eventually tracked down in Oregon just a week later.
He would never say why he killed the child, instead admitting ‘we really had a good time when we were together and I really liked her. I’m sorry that she was killed’. Turned out, he’d done many more robberies too; indeed his fingerprints on the ransom note were to link him inextricably to the crime.
Despite trying to blame someone else and pleading insanity, Hickman was banged to rights in Los Angeles for kidnap and murder and the Fox literally got his come uppance at San Quentin where he was strung up for his crimes. He was hanged, apparently aged just 20.