Takes Life In
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.
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.
MORE ABOUT ---
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
Page 1] [PDF,
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)