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Takes Life In
Coast Cabin

Man and Wife Using Same
House Questioned In Strange Death

(Times Redwood City Bureau)

REDWOOD CITY, July 10 --- Trapped by fate, and despondency, John W. Rice, 26, a discharged army paratrooper, took his own life early today on a porch of a tiny cabin in Tunitas Glen on the San Mateo county coastside south of Half Moon Bay.
   Rice sent a bullet from a cheap .25 automatic pistol crashing through his brain under circumstances which for a brief time resulted in the sheriff’s office holding a married pair, with who had had been vacationing.

     No Inkling
Unusual to a high degree, the suicide was committed within earshot of his two friends who had no suspicion that Rice intended taking his own life. They were Mr. and Mrs. Haworth of 1823 Grove Street, Oakland, with whom Rice had been staying in one of the Leo Moran vacation cabins at Tunitas Glen since last Saturday.
   The trio, according to officers, had been drinking and at some time after 2 a.m. Herbert Haworth, 30, was in the kitchen of the cabin preparing a light meal. Mildred Haworth, 23, had gone to nearby Tunitas creek for some bottled beer which had been cooling in the water.

In Rocking Chair
Haworth heard a shot and came out of the cabin to a small front porch to discover Rice slumped in a wicker rocking chair, his feet on the porch rail, and a wound in the right side of his head. The bullet had emerged through the top of his skull, the body had slumped in such a position as to fill the barrel of the still smoking pistol with blood. In consternation, Haworth and his wife summoned a neighbor, who in turn called Dr. John L. Lamotte and Deputy Sheriff Fred Simmons from Half Moon Bay. Lamotte instantly pronounced Rice dead and called the Redwood City Police who notified Chief Deputy Sheriff Walter Moore.


Takes Life

       Haworth Had Rifle
   Deputies Ben Silverstein and Eugene Allbee were placed in charge of the case and went immediately to the cabin, arriving about 6:40 a.m. They found Haworth striding up and down in front of the cabin armed with a loaded .25 caliber Japanese army rifle which he had obtained before his recent discharge from the army. The rifle was loaded with split-nose “dum-dum” bullets which could not have inflicted the small wound in Rice’s head, the officers said.
      Moved Pistol
Mrs. Haworth told the offices she had received nurse training and thought that Rice might still be alive. In efforts to aid him she had moved the pistol from his lap and it lay on the floor near the chair. The spent cartridge was found about 10 feet to the right, approximately in the place it would have been thrown by the automatic ejection of the pistol. Rice’s hands had been folded in his lap by the time officers arrived. Haworth and his wife told them that Rice had been in good spirits and there was no suggestion that he was considering suicide. Later Mrs. Haworth told the officers an unverified story that Rice had revealed he had a wife in the East but had become involved with an Oakland girl.
     Was Despondent
   Although Rice’s mother was interviewed on the point of his marriage she was unable to tell officers any relevant facts and grew hysterical. It was from his parents, however, it was learned that he had been despondent because he had not been allowed to go overseas with the 508th paratroop infantry regiment, presumably because of weak ankles brought on by repeated parachute jumps. A note found in Rice’s wallet was at first believed to be a suicide message as it read: “Call my mom and dad for me. Rice” But this was later learned to be a note from several years ago since it gave his mother’s name under a previous marriage. She is now Mrs. Blanche Steen of 591 Thirty-fourth street, Oakland.

     Worked At Shipyards
    Grief-stricken when she came to the sheriff’s office this morning she was unable to aid officers to any great extent in their investigation of her son’s death. Rice and Haworth had both been employed as marine electricians at the Graham shipyards in Oakland. Rice had been living at 5907 Telegraph avenue, Oakland. Their acquaintanceship extended back only two weeks but he had accompanied Haworth and his wife on their vacation trip to the coastside cabin.
     Suicide Theory
   Haworth explained his own possession of the Japanese rifle, and a shotgun, found under the single double bed in the cabin, by saying that a deer-hunt had been planned. Mr. and Mrs. Haworth were to be released late today, said Chief Deputy Moore who explained that offices are now satisfied that Rice’s death was a suicide. They had been held as material witnesses. The remains of Rice were taken to the Dutra Funeral Home in Half Moon Bay by Deputy Coroner A. P. Dutra. A Post-mortem examination was conducted there by Dr. Stuart Lindsay who said the bullet had emerged from Rice’s head. Officers were unable to find the bullet which apparently left the porch of the cabin without meeting a further obstruction. Difficulty was experience by deputies Silverstein and Allbee in fixing the time of death. The Haworths were unable to fix a time closer than between 2 and 4 a.m.” Dr. Lamotte’s call came to authorities at 5:45 and he expressed a belief that Rice had been dead more than two hours at that time.

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Grave marker for John W. Rice in Section H Site 1255 of the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno (San Mateo county), California.
John enlisted in the Army at San Francisco, CA on 16 October 1942 and was assigned to Hq 1st, 508th PIR.

He was hospitalized at Camp Mackall on 16 October 1943 and three days later was transferred to the Hq Det Sec #1 (Discharge Pool)

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