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Inland Woman Arrested in Elderly Parents' Deaths

A Bloomington couple are found dead in their home after neighbors report an odor.

September 17, 2004|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A Bloomington woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing her elderly parents, a day after neighbors alerted police that the couple were missing and a "wretched smell" was coming from their house.

Alma Frakes, 35, apparently killed her parents, William and Alba, after the three quarreled Sunday night, a San Bernardino County sheriff's spokesman said.

Neighbors said the daughter and her two children lived with the couple and that they had a rocky relationship. William Frakes, 80, was a retired roofer, said a friend, Jim Randolph. Alba Frakes, 72, worked at a storage business.

"They had told me [Alma] gave them trouble," said Ed Collins, who lives across the street. "I know they didn't like her boyfriend at all.... [Alma] was sort of off the wall. You'd have a conversation with her, and it'd go all over the place."

Alma Frakes was arrested at a Fontana home and is being held without bail at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Sheriff's deputies were called to the home Wednesday night, shortly after a concerned co-worker of Alba Frakes visited the family's home in the 18100 block of Randall Avenue.

The friend summoned neighbors, who got no answer when they knocked on the door. Inside, they heard the couple's barking Chihuahua and a television set. When they walked to the side of the home, they saw hundreds of houseflies gathered near a cracked-open window and were hit with a "wretched smell."

"I know the smell of death," said Tom Boshae, one of the neighbors. Boshae told investigators he was sitting in his driveway across the street from the home Sunday night when Alba Frakes drove home around 5:30 p.m. She walked inside, and 30 minutes later he heard gunfire.

"Pop, pop, pop, pop -- but he didn't think too much about it, because look where we live," said Andrea Hillworth, Boshae's roommate.

Boshae told detectives the daughter rushed from the house, possibly with her boyfriend and her two daughters, and drove away after packing the car with some belongings.

Sheriff's investigators released a concise statement: "Alma was having a dispute, about undisclosed circumstances, with her parents and murdered them sometime on Sunday." They did not disclose how the Frakeses were killed.

Collins said William Frakes kept guns in the home, and he had seen him occasionally walk outside with them if he heard suspicious noises.

"He was a great guy to have running your neighborhood watch," Collins said.

White-jacketed evidence collectors, wearing masks because of the smell inside the home, dusted around the front door for fingerprints while another sheriff's investigator took photographs inside.

Neighbors said William Frakes demanded that the inside of his home remain "spotless," although the outside showed wear.

Although the noontime sun shined brightly Thursday, the Frakeses' porch light remained on. Below the light, William Frakes had posted a small sign near the door: "Please Clean Your Feet. No Smoking. Thank You."

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