On Dec. 15, 1927, 12-year-old Marion Parker checked out of Los Angeles’ Mount Vernon Junior High School early. The person who picked her up from school was not an employee of her father as he claimed. He was the person who would end her life.
The following day, Parker’s father Perry Parker, received a ransom note via telegram, demanding the family pay $1,500 in gold for the return of Marion. Multiple telegrams followed that day and the next, asking for the money and warning against police involvement. On Dec. 17, Perry met the kidnapper on the corner of West 5th Street and South Manhattan Place in Los Angeles around 8 p.m. and paid his daughter’s ransom. The kidnapper returned to his car and as he drove away, he threw Marion’s body from the vehicle. The child’s legs and arms had been cut off. Marion Parker’s limbs were located the next day in Elysian Park.
On Dec. 20, police discovered she had been kidnapped and murdered by one of Perry Parker’s former co-workers, William Edward Hickman. A towel which had been stuffed inside Marion’s torso had come from the Bellevue Arms apartments where Hickman lived. His fingerprints were later found in the car used to pick up the ransom. Hickman had been arrested from the bank where he worked with Perry just a year before after Perry reported him for stealing and forging checks. Hickman had been sentenced to probation in the case. Hickman was arrested in Oregon and admitted to playing a part in Marion’s murder, but he tried to pin the actual killing on two other men. While in custody in Los Angeles he finally admitted to killing Marion. At his trial in 1928, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but was found guilty by the jury and sentenced to death. Hickman was hanged at San Quentin Prison on Oct. 19, 1928.