Crime Scene Revisited

Homicide Investigation
Los Angeles, California
(Circa 1945)

Summer of 1945. World War II is over ...or soon will be. There is a homicide or a suicide on Pico Boulevard, a main street in the metro Los Angeles area. We were not there...but photographer James R. Pelton was there to record the officers moving the body from the car to a stretcher. From these 64-year-old photos, we can tell quite a lot:

• Gasoline sold for 3 cents per gallon;
• There was a Safeway store across the street from the scene;
• The 1945 California license plate was number 28R417;
• An automobile dealership across the street: E. W. Ralston;
• We don’t know the car model...but there is a logo on the spare-tire holder that looks like “WK”. Any ideas?

Notes about the photographer: James R. Pelton (1920-1962)

James R. Pelton was a professional photographer who spent part of his time freelancing for the Los Angeles Times. His work consists of landscapes, architecture, laborers...and crime scenes. He shot most of his work with a Speed Graphic camera and all of his photos are preserved on 4 x 5-in. negatives. He was born in Indiana in 1920, worked mainly in California, had a loving family consisting of his wife and four children...but his life was ended suddenly by a tragic accident at age 42. His photos remained stored in the basement until his youngest daughter—Patti Pelton—brought them to the attention of the public with a website: If you are interested, you can browse through many of his beautiful photographs. The photos above are of special interest to us because Patti Pelton works on the hit TV series CSI:NY.

Do you have a crime-scene photo you would like to share?

If you have an interesting or unusual crime-scene photo, send it to us by e-mail to review. If we use it, we will send you a set of back issues. Send the image and a description of the photo to: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

"Crime Scene Revisited"
January-February 2009 (Volume 7, Number 1)
Evidence Technology Magazine
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