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Slain Woman's Family Sues County Over Death

October 15, 1992|JULIE TAMAKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Quartz Hill family sued Los Angeles County and the Sheriff's Department on Wednesday over the stabbing death of their mother by her daughter's ex-boyfriend, an attorney for the family said.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks an unspecified amount of damages, said attorney Ronald Papell.

Sheriff's officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was brought by the family of Dorothy Waguespack, 53, who was stabbed to death in her home by her daughter's ex-boyfriend Feb. 5, Papell said. Larry Howard Rogers, 20, of Lancaster was arrested in Nevada several days after the slaying and confessed to the killing, but hanged himself in a Nevada jail before he could be returned to Los Angeles County for trial, Papell said.

The lawsuit alleges that the Sheriff's Department could have prevented Waguespack's death if deputies had responded promptly to her daughter's phone call for help, and that the department was negligent in failing to protect the Waguespack family, Papell said.

Rogers had been harassing the Waguespack family after breaking up with Abigail Waguespack, who filed as many as six complaints with the Sheriff's Department and was in the process of getting a restraining order against Rogers prior to her mother's death, Papell said.

On the day of the killing, Abigail Waguespack spotted Rogers' car parked near her family's home, Papell said. Fearing for her mother's safety, Waguespack called 911, but "deputies showed up about 30 minutes or more later," after her mother's death, Papell said.

"The Sheriff's Department should have responded on an emergency basis," he said.

The lawsuit was filed by Abigail Waguespack, her father, seven sisters and four brothers, Papell said.

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