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Missing Ivy Matory
At 4:30 a.m., the house caught fire and burned to the ground. Earlene's body was found inside near the front door; she had been strangled. The children had all disappeared from the residence, and there was a trail of blood leading from the house down an alley, where it stopped.
Earlene was estranged from her husband, James Williams, at the time of her death. They separated after James was charged with child molestation and rape in connection with a 1976 attack on Ivy. He was questioned and released the day after the fire, but arrested for murder the next day when the autopsy results proved Earlene had been a homicide victim.
In August 1977, James was additionally charged with murdering the four missing children. Authorities stated the three girls were supposed to testify against him in the sexual abuse case, which was scheduled to go to court on July 21, the day before they disappeared.
James was tried twice for murder, but the jury deadlocked both times, and in July 1979, before a third trial could take place, the five murder charges against him were dismissed. He is now deceased.
Investigating Agency / Department
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department