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Looking Back to July 1956: Woman’s suicide probed 

Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of Research Director Jan Cannon. Newspaper photography by GiGi Green.

Excerpts from Thursday, July 26, 1956 Paso Robles Journal

Shot in temple ends life of mother, 24

An apparent suicide Sunday evening by Mrs. Jane Ann Mahon, 24, of San Miguel on Estrella Road, is still being investigated by state and county authorities.

Floyd Mahon said “that his wife failed to respond when he returned from San Miguel and called to ask if she wanted him to bring in the washing which was hanging on the clothes line.”

He went into the kitchen and called again and got no answer, and went into the living room to look in the baby’s room, when he saw the bathroom door closed.

Mahon was unable to open the door of the bathroom. He said he went to the outside to look in the window.

When he saw his wife laying on her face, he told deputy sheriff Lt. William Stonesifer, he tore off the screen and entered the bathroom through the window and turned her over, discovering she had been shot and apparently was dead.

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He left the bathroom and went into the kitchen where he called the telephone operator and told her to get a doctor, that his wife had been shot and still might be alive.

When the police and the doctor failed to arrive within minutes, he went out to the road and hailed the first car that came by.

The driver was SFC Johnny Stewart of Headquarters Det. RCTC, Camp Roberts.

According to Steward, Mahon told him his wife had been shot and was dead.

Sergeant Stewart took Mahon to the home of Special Deputy Harry Kahl, who was out. Steward then took Mahon to the home of a friend, Thomas Boon.

The three then returned to the house. The Mahons’ 13-month-old daughter, Melody Ann, had been left in the house in her crib.

Dr. Stanley J. Kirk arrived, escorted by the California Highway Patrol. He asked Patrolman Charles Houser the location of the house when he spotted the officer in San Miguel.

The San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office was informed of the incident and deputies William Stonecifer and H.L. Whitney responded to the call.

Mrs. Mahon was found in a corner of the bathroom blocking the door. Preliminary examination showed she had been shot in the right temple with a 22 pistol which was found beside her. An empty shell casing was found in the bathtub.

She was clad only in a halter and pedal pushers with no shoes or socks.

The Mahons’ baby was found sitting in a crib in a room next to the bathroom. The baby is being cared for by Mr. and Mrs. Boon.

Evidence found by the investigators shows that in 1953, Mrs. Mahon had filed for divorce, but evidence of a final decree was not found.

Mahon, who had been married once before, lost his first wife in an auto accident.

Mahon told officers that he had returned home Sunday morning about 3:45 a.m. and that they were packing the car for a vacation trip to Salinas.

He also told officers that his wife knew how to handle the gun very well, and that it was kept in a kitchen drawer by the ice box.

Mrs. Mahon’s mother, Mrs. Lou Wilcox, who lives in Los Angeles is due to arrive in Paso Robles today.

The body was removed to the Kuehl Chapel where an autopsy will be performed by Dr. Thomas F. McKellar of San Luis Obispo.

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Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.