Another noirish unsolved murder: Diane Sparks
Photograph caption reads: "Her murder still unsolved two years after death". Photograph printed: Jan. 29, 1948.
"Principal witnesses in the Gonzales murder trial which opened today in Superior Court are shown here. George Sparks, Los Angeles policemen, whose wife, the beautiful Diane Sparks, was murdered last Jan. 29". Photograph dated: July 17, 1946.
Los Angeles Times
March 12, 1946
Sifting slim clues dimmed by time and the elements, officers yesterday roamed over the Roscoe foothills seeking a key to solution of the six-week-old murder of Mrs. Diane Sparks, 31, wife of a policeman, and former film extra whose body...
—March 13, 1946
Husband Denies Quarrel With Slain Ex-Dancer
VAN NUYS, Cal., March 13 (UP)
--Motorcycle Officer George E. Sparks, husband of former film dancer Diane Sparks, 31, whose body was found Sunday, denied today that marital discord preceded her disappearance Jan. 29.
The nude, mutilated body was in a shallow San Fernando Valley grave.
Sparks said his wife had complained that he spent too much time working on their new North Hollywood home but that there was no quarrel.
Reports of a “big drinking party” at their home the night before Mrs. Sparks disappeared were denied by Sparks. A friend, Ronon (sic) Gonzales, was released after questioning.
San Jose News
-March 20, 1946
Suspect is Booked for Girls Murder
Los Angeles, March 20 (INS)
Ramon Gonzales, North Hollywood cement mixer who was once cleared of any connection with the slaying of Diane Sparks, former show girl wife of a policeman, was held as a suspect in the case today.
He was booked on suspicion of murder after a sawed-off rifle owned by him was established by ballistics tests as the weapon in which Mrs. Sparks was killed.
Gonzalez readily admitted ownership of the rifle, but he reiterated his denial that he killed the attractive young woman and he asserted the gun was stolen from him about three months ago.
Mrs. Sparks disappeared from her North Hollywood home last Jan. 29 and her body was found in a shallow grave in the Verdugo Hills on March 10. Gonzales was questioned early in the investigation because he was the last person with whom she was seen.
The case took a new turn when a resident found a rifle a quarter mile from the grave and turned the weapon over to the police.
(Los Angeles Times
Archive: there is a charge for the rest of the story)
A kiss on the cheek given Ramon Gonzales, 32, North Hollywood cement contractor, by Mrs. Diane Sparks, 31-year-old former film player, was described yesterday by the woman's husband, George Sparks, Los Angeles policeman, at Gonzales'...Mar 28, 1946
Ramon Gonzales, 32-year-old cement contractor, must stand trial in Superior Court for the murder of Mrs. Diane Sparks, 31, former film player and wife of Police Officer George Sparks, Municipal Judge Edwin L. Jefferson ruled yesterday on com-...March 29, 1946
"Pedro Amezqua, who is circulating a petition attesting to the good character of Ramon Gonzales talks with Frank Green, reporter for the Valley Times in Municipal Court". Ramon Gonzales was put on trial for the murder of Mrs. Diane Sparks, his next-door neighbor, whose body was found in an abandoned olive grove a month after she was reported missing. Photograph dated: March 28, 1946.
Photograph caption reads: "She remembers hearing her mother repeat Mrs. Bessie Hensley's eyewitness account of the Diane Sparks murder. Shown above is Pauline Brown, 19, whose mother, Mrs. Orma Brown, works at the "metal saw next to Bessie's at Lockheed." Mrs. Brown said she heard the tale "probably Jan. 30," the day after Mrs. Sparks was murdered". Photograph dated: May 1, 1946.
"Principal witnesses in the Gonzales murder trial which opened today in Superior Court are shown here. Mrs. Bessie Hensley with her daughter, Barbara, who found Mrs. Sparks' body in a shallow grave in the hills above Roscoe. Mrs. Hensley has told police she saw what she believes was the killing as she hiked through Lanark Canyon the afternoon Mrs. Sparks disappeared". Photograph dated: July 17, 1946.
"Dr. Marinne Sparks of Dallas, Tex., sister of George Sparks, center, whose wife was slain, and Deputy District Attorney John Barnes, right, in charge of prosecution".
"Threatened by someone who told her to "shut up and not talk to the police," Mrs. Bessie Hensley reports the incident to Regis Goldbach, Valley policeman. Mrs. Hensley received the warning after telling police she witnessed the murder of Mrs. Diane Sparks". Photograph dated: May 2, 1946.
Ramon Gonzales during the trial for the murder of Mrs. Diane Sparks, his next-door neighbor, whose body was found in an abandoned olive grove in Roscoe a month after she was reported missing.
"Principal witnesses in the Gonzales murder trial which opened today in Superior Court are shown here. Upper right is Ramon Gonzales, North Hollywood contractor and neighbor of the Sparks', who is charged with the killing". The photograph was cropped when published to show only Mr. Gonzales. The unidentified man seated next to Mr. Gonzales is filling his pipe.
"Mrs. Ramon Gonzales, wife of the North Hollywood contractor accused of the murder of Diane Sparks, and the couple's three small daughters, are shown in the living room of their home, confidently awaiting a verdict of not guilty. Left to right, they are: Raquel, 7; Mrs. Connie Gonzales, holding the baby of the family, Marie, who is 13 months old today, and Connie, 3, affectionately called "Cookie" by her daddy. Gonzales goes on trial Monday". Photograph dated: July 13, 1946.
"Freed by all-woman jury". Ramon Gonzales during the trial for the murder of Mrs. Diane Sparks, his next-door neighbor, whose body was found in an abandoned olive grove in Roscoe a month after she was reported missing. He was found innocent.
August 1, 1946 Los Angeles Times
Ramon Gonzales, cement contractor, was acquitted late yesterday of the slaying of Mrs. Diane Sparks, 32, former film dancer, by an all-woman jury which deliberated less than seven hours.