SUMMARY: Delores Mae "Dee" Siddall, age 29, died on August 23, 1961 after an abortion perpetrated by Long Beach, California lay abortionist Hugh McLeod Pheaster.
Delores Mae "Dee" Siddall, age 29, vanished from Long Beach, California on August 23, 1961. Authorities believed that she had died from a criminal abortion perpetrated by Hugh McLeod Pheaster, age 28, who was arrested as part of an abortion ring along with Thomas "Chick" Cicarelle, age 47, and Conrad Neale Couch, age 34.
Glenn Brewster and Barbara Anderson testified that Delores had told them that she was pregnant and that Cicarelle was going to drive her to Tijuana for an abortion. Barbara said that she'd heard a discussion between Dee and Cicarelle about when she was going to have the necessary money. Later, Barbara said, Dee had phoned her on August 23 to ask her to babysit her three children. "We was very depressed and wanted to go to [a bar] to have a few drinks."
Barbara went to Dee's house at around 9:30 p.m. Dee left at around 10:15, saying that she'd return by 1:00 a.m.
Dee didn't return. "I sat up all night waiting for her and worrying," Barbara said. At around 5:00 p.m. on August 24, Barbara handed off the children to Dee's mother. She contacted Cicarelle, who said that he didn't know where Dee was but told Barbara not to call the police.
Glenn Brewster, a bartender who worked with Dee, said that he'd last seen Dee the night of August 19, when she said that Cicarelle wasn't going to be able to take her to Tijuana, so she was making other contacts.
After Dee's disappearance, Brewster said, he called Cicarelli about Dee. The first two times he called, Cicarelli said that he would track Dee down. The third time, Brewster said, was on August 29, when "Cicarelli told me he'd found out this girl had been released." Brewster didn't ask Cicarelli what he meant by "released."
Pheaster had been identified as an abortionist by three women who said he had perpetrated their abortions. He was arrested in Dee's death when detectives entered an upscale motel room on E. Pacific Coast Highway. He was in the process of perpetrating an abortion on a 26-year-old woman at the time. Police subdued him as he was attempting to draw a loaded .38 caliber revolver from the waistband of his pants.
Couch, a teacher, was arrested as classes were being dismissed at Wilmington Junior High School. Another accomplice, Mrs. Patricia Dirt Waltz, age 31, of Compton, was also arrested without incident.
He later admitted guilt in Delores' death.
- "3 Arrested as L.B. Police Find Illegal Surgery Ring," Long Beach (CA) Independent, Oct. 5, 1961
- "2 Reveal Plan to Operate," Long Beach (CA) Independent, Oct. 19, 1961
- "3 Surgery Suspects Deny Guilt," Long Beach (CA) Independent, Nov. 18, 1961