Chapter 9 ~ Leo Hymes

“He never got back that night.”

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Leo Hymes,  Anne Toth’s boy friend and Mark Hansen’s friend, worked  in ladies apparel.  In late 1946, he  lived at 356 N. Alfred Street, near La Cienega Boulevard and Beverly Boulevard, but spent time visiting Anne at the Carlos Avenue house, about five miles east.

Leo was born in Seattle, Washington in 1912. He was older than his girl friend, Anne and older than Beth. He stood at 5′ 8 1/2″ and weighed 190 lbs. He had a light complexion, with a birth mark on the left side of his nose. He had brown hair and blue eyes. Detectives described Leo as, a “heavy set fellow.”

Leo worked at H&G Hat Company on Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles. His office was just around the corner from the Crown Grill, a two minute walk from his building.

He recalled once that, “Easter was getting around there – Easter is in April; we were shipping early in November, December and January.  I had been packing and I got over there one night.  There was an argument between Beth and another girl.”

Frank Jemison and Finis Brown asked Leo about Beth. “I always felt that she had – her hair; she had real dark brown – more on the black side -.”   And,  “Appeared to be dyed.  She just didn’t look attractive.”  “Another thing I remember about that Short girl was her teeth.  There was something about her teeth.  Were they protruding, or bad or something?” Brown replied, “Bad.”

Leo saw a picture of Beth wearing a hat and wondered, “That wasn’t one of my hats was it?” He said that, “Mark got a couple of hats for her from my firm when I was in the hat business.” Speaking of Hansen, Hymes told Brown,  “I know he got her a couple of hats one time.”

Anne introduced him to Beth at Mark Hansen’s house, Leo said. “- I saw her there about, oh, I’d say half a dozen times altogether.”  He said, ” – I always felt he [Hansen] did like her pretty well.” When questioned about Hansen and shown photographs of him, Leo remarked, “What a guy.  He’s fantastic.” And, “There is a character.  He’s plenty smart too.” And, asked if Hansen was a good businessman, he answered,  “Oh yeah, he’s plenty shrewd.”

In 1950, Leo recalled Hansen’s January, 1947 trip to Long Beach:

This is the only thing I have always been thinking about, even back in 1946.  Mark called from Long Beach, said he was staying out at van der Steen’s house – or It was right around the time she was killed.  Now he was some place in Long Beach because he never got back that night.

Bernardus van der Steen was a businessman and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pig n’ Whistle restaurants. Mr. van der Steen and his wife, Iris van der Steen, knew Mark Hansen socially and entertained him and his friends in their home in Redondo Beach.  At the time of the Long Beach trip, Hansen was in negotiations with van der Steen to increase van der Steen’s interest in the Florentine Gardens. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate the opening of the new Crest Theatre in Long Beach. After the opening and the showing of a new movie, Charlie Skouras threw a  party at the Long Beach Hilton. The party broke up at about 2 am.

He said he was going over to see van der Steen in Long Beach and then he called about ten o’clock I guess, or ten-thirty; said he was going to stay out there; wasn’t coming back that night.  It was right around that time.  In fact, I asked Ann a lot of times if she ever recalled whether it was two or three days before or right at that particular time.  I know I recall I was there.

After the party broke up at about 2 am, Mark Hansen and a male friend followed the van der Steens to their home. It was a very foggy morning and van der Steen first said that Hansen spent the night at his home and left early in the morning.

In March, 1950, van der Steen was interview by Frank Jemison and he said, “That is, I still don’t know – I don’t recollect right now – that is with all fairness to all parties concerned, I don’t recognize – I don’t remember if he did stay.”

Leo said that trip stayed in his mind long after the murder. He and Ann talked about it. He said, “It was seldom he ever stayed away.

“He never got back that night.”

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