Who's the lady buried under the San Diego Freeway?

Dear Matthew Alice:

In Rex Reed's People Are Crazy Here, in the chapter on Alfred Hitchcock he writes, "His favorite people in history are Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and a man who murdered his wife and buried her under the San Diego Freeway. She's still there, you know. I'm dying of curiosity.

-- SB, San Diego

Well we can't have that. In response to your 911 letter, I'll supply a little informational CPR. The woman rumored to be part of the asphalt landscape in Los Angeles was Evelyn Throsby Scott, L.A. socialite and bad judge of character. She hopped into her Mercedes one night in 1955 to go buy some toothpaste and never came back. At any rate, that's the story the police heard from her husband of five years, Robert Leonard Ewing Scott, who then proceeded to distract himself from his grief by forging lots of Evelyn's checks. Before her relatives and the grand jury put a stop to it, Scott had cheered himself up to the tune of a million dollars or so.

Scott eventually went to trial for her murder, bragging that the prosecution couldn't touch him because they'd never found her body. No corpse? No crime, the defense argued. At that time no one in the U.S. had ever been convicted of murder without physical evidence of a victim. But in this precedent-setting case, the prosecution successfully documented the "suddenly interrupted life pattern of Evelyn Scott"; the jury found her husband guilty and received a life sentence.

Naturally, there was rampant speculation about Evelyn's whereabouts. Among the rumors was the story that Scott had stashed her remains in a freeway construction site near there home, leaving the State of California to pave over the evidence. This supports my theory that when nature creates an information vacuum in our brains, we'll fill it with whatever seems the most fun, the most sensational, the story most likely to appear on the cover of a supermarket tabloid. We'd rather believe Evelyn's part of a freeway off ramp than the more likely explanation that her husband burned her remains in the family's incinerator, where her glasses and teeth were found.

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