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Compton Widow Is Shot to Death in Her Home in Apparent Robbery

Crime: Substitute teacher, 68, had lived in the house most of her life. Two men were seen at her door.

July 22, 2001|KURT STREETER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In what authorities suspect was a home invasion robbery, a 68-year-old widow was found shot to death Saturday afternoon in the small Compton house where she raised seven children and lived for about 40 years.

Kathryn Dawson, a substitute teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District, was found by one of her daughters, said Lt. Ray Peavy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Dawson had been shot once in the upper body. She was discovered lying on the living room floor, Peavy said.

Neighbors told detectives that two men who appeared to be in their early 20s were seen knocking on Dawson's door on Slater Avenue at 1 p.m.

Investigators believe the two forced themselves into the pink stucco house.

"They probably knew my mother was older and alone," said Ericka Hinshaw-Jones, one of the victim's daughters. "I just pray they get caught."

The two men were last seen walking casually down the quiet street with what appeared to be a duffel bag, Peavy said.

"She was by all accounts a very upstanding woman and she did not have a lot of money," Peavy said. "It makes no sense. We are trying to determine what the motive was and what was taken."

As investigators pored over the crime scene Saturday afternoon, about a dozen of Dawson's friends and relatives huddled together near the police tape, trying to understand a crime against such an unlikely victim.

Dawson, a native of Arkansas, taught mostly at 118th Street Elementary School.

"My mother was loved by everyone: by the neighbors, her students, her family," said another daughter, Debra Hinshaw. "She was as strong as a rock."

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