Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: Mysterious Confession

A Gruesome Discovery


Lois Petrie's sister Edith told police that she had discovered her sister's body about 10:30 that morning. Edith lived a block away on West 11th Street, in the Los Angeles harbor community of San Pedro.

Sherri Lewandowski as Lois Petrie
Sherri Lewandowski as Lois Petrie
Edith said she had become increasingly worried about Lois after her husband's death six weeks before. Since then, Lois had been drinking a lot and eating very little. On Christmas Day, Lois came to Edith's house and visited with her and their mother, who lived with Edith. Lois had been drunk and said she hadn't eaten in two days. She left about 4:00 in the afternoon, saying she was going home.

Edith told the police that she had walked over to Lois's apartment the next morning to check on her. The door had been slightly open. Edith found her sister lying across the bed, covered with a blanket. Lois looked asleep, or maybe passed out. Her legs were sticking out from under the blanket. Edith grabbed one of Lois's legs to try to shake her awake. The leg was cold.

Edith said she called the police right away. Later, she said she waited two hours to make the call. The inconsistency of her story struck the detectives as suspicious.

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