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Viola Hagenkord worked at a department store in Milwaukee and remained in the city until the late 1970s. However, the Los Angeles Times reports she moved to Southern California in the late 1970s to escape the increasing crime rates and to be closer to her family.
Hagenkord eventually moved into Anaheim’s Pebble Cove Apartments, where her neighbors described her as “very sweet.” One of her neighbors, who was a high school student, said she called Hagenkord “grandma” and she often took cookies to the elderly woman.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Hagenkord was also trusting of her neighbors and would routinely leave her door unlocked and propped open with a soup can. Although her neighbors had expressed that keeping her door open in the evening was unsafe, Hagenkord did not seem to be concerned.
According to the City of Anaheim, Hagenkord was well known within the community, and her neighbors became concerned when they had not seen her for several days. They were stunned to learn their elderly neighbor had been beaten, raped, and brutally murdered.
Authorities conducted an extensive investigation of Hagenkord’s murder. However, they were unable to identify any suspects or establish a motive, and the case eventually went cold. Although the brutal crime was revisited several times throughout the decades, detectives were unable to find any new or valuable information.
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