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The Champion

January-February 2019 , Page 56 

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Book Review: Butterfly in the Rain: The Abduction and Murder of Marion Parker

By Matthew T. Mangino

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Butterfly in the Rain: The Abduction and Murder of Marion Parker

By James L. Neibaur
Rowman & Littlefield (2016) 


James L. Neibaur has written prolifically about the motion picture industry and Hollywood. His first foray into true crime is worthy of the silver screen. Neibaur’s Butterfly in the Rain tells the story of William Edward Hickman, a vain and diabolical egotist who kidnapped and savagely murdered Marion Parker, the 12- year-old daughter of a banking executive.

Hickman, who was 19 years old, had delusions of grandeur.

In 1927, he entered an elementary school in Los Angeles, California, and asked to take Parker out of school, claiming that her father had been in an accident. Despite seemingly obvious inconsistencies in his story, a member of the school staff — enamored by the suave and well-spoken Hickman — released the child into his custody.

That night, Marion’s father, Perry Parker, received a telegram from Hickman demanding a meager ransom, even by early 20th century standards.

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