Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: Mysterious Confession

Theodore Lancaster

Andrew Lancaster was born in the back hills of Kentucky in 1926. His father was a German-born Jew who came to the United States and found work as a butcher. Lancaster's mother died when he was young.

Lancaster turned 18 in 1944 and signed up for the Navy as World War II dragged into its last and most brutal two years. In Europe and across the Pacific, apocalyptic battles chewed men and spit blood — Normandy, Peleliu, Bastogne, Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, Okinawa.

Yet by design or by accident, Lancaster's Navy job kept him about as far away from the heat of battle as one could get. Assigned to a Seabee (Construction Battalion) unit, Lancaster spent his war years on the southern Caribbean island of Trinidad, seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. While serving his military tour in paradise, Lancaster fell in love with a burlesque dancer named Annelle. He later married her and adopted her son, Steve.

After his discharge from the Navy, Lancaster took his new family to California, where he found work as a security guard at a steel mill. Sometime in the late 1960s, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lancaster started driving a cab in San Pedro.

A family friend quoted in the article said Lancaster and his wife didn't seem like much of a match. Annelle didn't drink, but she liked to go out. She enjoyed going to clubs and dancing. She liked to exercise and taught dance at a local studio. Lancaster was private and withdrawn, a recluse, according to the friend, who said Lancaster didn't enjoy going to clubs. "I don't think he knew how to dance," the friend told the Chronicle.

The couple had a son, Gerald, but the differences between Andrew and Annelle's personalities were too great for their marriage to survive. By the early 1970s, they divorced.

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