Chloe Davis Murder Case: Part 2

It was Christmas day in 1926 and 23-year old Lolita Dell Bjorkman was getting married to her heart’s desire, 28-year old Frank Barton Davis. Barton, as he was called, or F. Barton Davis as he would later be referred to in the press, was born in Kansas and Lolita in Illinois. Both had grown up in the same Michigan town, met and fell in love. Barton had briefly moved to Los Angeles in 1925 but hastily returned home so that he could marry his hometown sweetheart. Over the next few years, with children in tow, he and his new bride would move back and forth between Grand Rapids and Los Angeles.

On September 4, 1928 a beautiful baby with bright blue eyes was placed into the arms of two excited new parents. The Davises, opting for a name that was rooted in family history, chose Chloe Dibble for their little girl. Over the course of nine years Chloe would be joined by three siblings: Daphne Dell arriving on January 10, 1930; Deborah Ann on July 1, 1933; and little brother Barton Marquis, who followed his sisters on March 7, 1937.

By 1940 the Davises had again settled in Los Angeles. They were now living in a little two-bedroom house at West 58th Place. They were a typical middle-class family. Devoted to their children, attended Sunday services with their neighbors and were thought of as one of the most likable and devoted families in the church. Barton Davis was a manger at a local grocery store and Lolita spent much of her time the same way that most mothers do, caring for her children and caring for her home. She was an impeccable housekeeper and, according to her husband, her children adored her. When she found free time she would spend much of it reading; both she and her eldest daughter shared the same love of books, including an attraction to crime stories. But her primary interest was in how to be a good parent, so she spent a great deal of time reading up on the subject. Two of the books found in the Davis home were titled How to Be a Good Mother and How to Raise Children. The Davis family, by all appearances, were normal, vanilla, status quo.

Then, one lovely spring morning, all hell broke loose.

When police arrived at the Davis residence officers were stunned by what they encountered. The murder scene was as gruesome as one could imagine. And there at the heart of it all was Chloe. Just as calm, cool and collected as could be. Her mother and little brother were dead at the scene. Daphne and Deborah, alleged to still be breathing, were transported to a local hospital. Each pronounced dead shortly thereafter as a result of the injuries they had sustained. Her father was near collapse. And through it all Chloe shed no tears, never lost her composure.
Chloe arrived at the ‘Police Emergency Hospital’, as it was termed then, sporting a minor head wound and substantial blisters to the palms of her hands. The staff wrapped her head in an exaggeration of bandages that seemed to be more for effect than in response to any significant injury. Her head wound wasn’t life threatening by any stretch of the imagination, and it certainly hadn’t been inflicted with near the strength and force that was behind the crushing blows to her siblings. They had each been struck multiple times, and with such force that many of the skull shattering wounds had retained the contour of the head of the hammer that inflicted them.

Captain Edgar Edwards, of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Homicide Squad, opined early in the investigation that the blisters were a result of considerable use of the hammer; her head injury was most likely self-inflicted or it had occurred during the scuffle with her mother.
For the moment Chloe was in a ward at the hospital under police supervision and for the next twelve hours she would be relentlessly questioned. Her calm, unemotional responses and cool, unaffected demeanor during the hours long interview would mystify even the most experienced and hardened of the homicide squad. No matter the tactic, the little girl was never going to crack under the pressure. She wouldn’t be rattled. She was quite the cool cucumber for a child her age, at one point when she thought investigators were trying to trick her into an admission of culpability she barked “you can’t make me confess. I didn’t do it.”

Captain Edwards believed that Chloe had killed her family, although he had no idea of the motive. His evaluation of the crime scene, based, I’m sure, on his years of experience as a police officer, indicated to him that Chloe had awoken while her mother was still in bed. She went into the kitchen and bludgeoned Marquis and Daphne. Hearing the screams of her children, Lolita Davis sprang from her bed and was met by Chloe as she ran into the hallway. A struggle ensued and Chloe stuck her mother knocking her to the ground. Upon ending her mother’s life Chloe then went into the bathroom and killed Deborah Ann. Edwards believed that in an attempt to disguise what she had done Chloe drug a mattress into the hallway, placed her mother’s body upon it, and in an effort to burn the house down she attempted to set the body afire by igniting her mother’s nightgown. When Chloe saw that she was not going to be able to incinerate the house and the evidence it contained she took an hour to get her self together and think things through. She then concocted a most unbelievable story in order to explain the events of the morning - her mother had been seeing demons and the entire chaotic, bloody mess was all her fault.

Upon hearing Edwards’ version of events, Chloe disagreed with all points, save two; she did indeed murder her mother and brother. However, she most certainly did not lay a single bloody digit on either of her sisters. Her mother had killed the two of them.

Chloe blamed the entire affair on her mother. In her version of events she was the last one up and had awoken to the sounds of hammering and screaming. Her mother was in a murderous fury, running around the house half-naked and screaming about visions of demons as she cracked open the skulls of her precious babies. She insisted that the children must die in order for them to be saved and after apologizing to her eldest daughter for not murdering her as well, she begged Chloe to beat her in the head until she could no longer speak or breathe. Surely, a blade to the throat would have been much quicker way to go.

According to Chloe she found Marquis moaning and whimpering in pain on the kitchen floor. After asking her mother if she shouldn’t hit him a few more times in order to put him out of his misery, Lolita Davis, suffering from massive head trauma, allegedly either raised her head and nodded ‘yes’ or actually spoke the words - depending on which version of Chloe’s story you prefer. Chloe stated that the only reason that she killed her mother and brother was because she had been instructed by her mother to do so. And being a most obedient child, who would never argue with her parents, Chloe did exactly as she was told to do – or so she said.

During the initial examination into the mental state of Lolita Davis, both father and daughter insisted that she had never before spoken of demons or exhibited any sign of insanity. According to her husband, she was “as normal as anyone could be.” But in less than 24-hours police would request assistance from the elder Davis in questioning his daughter. And as F. Barton Davis listened to the horrific tale spinning from his daughter’s lips, almost as soon as he had uttered those words in defense of his wife’s sanity, he would begin to take them back.

And so began the defilement of Lolita Dell Bjorkman-Davis by her husband and daughter as a murderous mother who after killing her three children, and wounding a fourth, committed suicide by slitting her wrists while beseeching her 11-year old child to bludgeon her to death with a hammer.

Top right, Lolita Davis; Baby Chloe
Middle left, Marquis, Chloe, Daphne and Deborah
Bottom left, F. Barton Davis and Chloe

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More