The Daily Item from Sunbury, Pennsylvania on March 22, 1992 · 13
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The Daily Item from Sunbury, Pennsylvania · 13

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Sunbury, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 22, 1992
Page:
13
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0 Anniversaries B3 n Engagements B6 D Weddings B2-3 Page B1 The Daily Item Sunbury, Pa. Sunday, March 22, 1992 ABBY FOLEY twentysomething The bathroom... for better or worse Now I realize why women never talk about The Game . Recite batting averages. Quote Yogi Beira, verbatim and from memory. Or get into arguments as to who was the greatest quarterback of all time. The majority of women, myself included, don't get to read the sports section of the newspaper. We're unable to do so because our husbands have a Game Plan. It's simple. It's regular. They intercept the section as it's being passed across the kitchen table, tuck it underneath their forearm and rush to the bathroom. There they sit on The Throne, enjoying Bathroom Solitude, reading about what Other Men did yesterday or plan to do today. "It's the only place where men can think clearly," my husband, Bill, explained. Surrounded by soap and shampoo and fluffy towels, men are content to read the paper for an hour. Longer on Sundays. "I haven't seen the sport page for years," my friend, Marie, told me, "except when I'm cleaning up after Ralph." Ralph, her husband, is no different than other men. He reads the paper and, having his fill of scores and statistics, jams it into the bathroom trash or, worse yet, tosses it on the floor where it soaks up the water he slopped on the floor earlier . (If he took a shower.) Ralph, Marie said, even made plans to install a bookshelf by the toilet, a real status symbol among his sports-literature reading friends. "I told him he could build a bookshelf. After he cleaned the bathroom," Marie said. Marie and I aren't alone. Most women I talk with tell similar stories. In fact, "The Reading Hour" is only one of the .many Bathroom Pet Peeves that newlywed couples must acknowledge, address and ultimately accept. "He complains that my makeup takes up too much counter space," one woman said, "but nothing compares to his habits." Another woman explained: "He never rinses the tub or replaces the toilet paper. He just expects that I'll do it." I can sympathize. As Bill and I near our six-month wedding anniversary, I'm reminded of a promise I made to myself long ago , that I would never, ever get married unless the offer included My Own Bathroom. Somewhere along the way, you see, I lost sight. I forgot that "married" means, among many enduring things, sharing the bathroom. For better. For worse . . , I forgot the importance of Tidy Bathroom Habits. But after 180-some days and 24 Sunday sports sections; I'm beginning to remember. How much I hate wet towels " on the floor. ' ' "' Razor stubble on the sink. Hair on the soap. Dirty socks on the floor. In the sink: The lid up. So after six months of wedlock, I've concluded it's impossible to teach a man Bathroom Geaning Techniques, especially when he proudly passes along new-found shortcuts like: "I used the toothbrush to get in those little cracks between the tiles." , Or asks so innocently, "Why can't I clean the tub with the toilet brush?" Maybe, just maybe, men are pulling our legs. They might really know how to clean. It's just that they don't want to doit. They'd rather sit on The Can . and read about how the 49ers will clean up at the draft. And not about how 409 cleans up mold. fa the bathroom. The clean bathroom. A column by Daily fern reporter Abby Foley appears here every Sunday. Ml H P4"1 Former boyfriend Anton By David Ferrell TAe Los Angeles Times T I URBANK, Calif. 1 The death of Crystal iL Spencer has evolved J 1 into a bizarre mystery 0r a tangled web of rumors and botched evidence, lawsuits and personal obsession. Nearly four years ago, the 29-year-old topless dancer was found dead in her disheveled apartment here. She was half-nude, her body decomposed beyond recognition. Her telephone was off the hook. Whether she was murdered, or merely died of a sudden illness, is a lingering question. Authorities labeled the cause of death "undetermined," leaving angry, tormented loved ones to cling to theories . The case has taken on a "Twilight Zone" quality, as if fate intended some sleight of hand. On the night of her death, the couple downstairs heard what they later described as muffled shrieks and screams. But they never called police. Glaring discrepancies marred the autopsy. Spencer, listed in one medical document as 5-foot-l, 107 pounds, was charted by the Los Angeles County coroner's office at 5-foot-7, 140. Her identity was established only by fingerprinting, after the fingertips had been surgically cut from the body. No X-rays or dental records were compared before cremation. Two lawsuits are pending, one brought by Spencer's mother against the coroner's office charging that "the body of Crystal Spencer was disposed of with other John and Jane Does prior to autopsy," the other by boyfriend Anton Kline against Burbank police, seeking access to the department's files. Kline, 41 , bitterly assails authorities who have attributed the exaggerated autopsy measurements to clerical error. He insists that pathologists examined the wrong body. "Believe me, I'd love nothing more than to have somebody make a ruling as to the cause of death on this," said Burbank Detective Kevin T. Krafft, who says he has spent more hours on the Spencer case than on any other in 19 years of law enforcement. Of the roughly 18,000 deaths investigated each year in Los Angeles, about 40 or 50 fall into that same dark void, said coroner's spokesman Bob Dambacher. "We do a lot of things, and sometimes we just cannot tell why somebody died," he said. fa and out at si! hours. Spencer . seemed to lead a "double hie" devoted to dreams of acting and 7 Si. i A Mm i Kline continues to seek answers Crystal Spencer, an aspiring ' nights spent dancing topless, Kline said. Her acting credits were modest two television commercials. Yet, like so many other young women, she longed for a chance at stardom and was enrolled in drama classes and a omedy workshop, Kline said. To support herself, Spencer danced at the Wild Goose, a topless club near Los Angeles International Airport, performing two, three, even four nights a week. Just before her death, Spencer was preparing for three months' work as a nightclub "hostess girl" in Japan, a trip she feared, according to a former waitress friend. Yet she was determined to go. i feel stuck. I'm going to get unstuck!" Spencer wrote in a journal entry. "God guide me Get me out of the Wild Goose ... by the end of May." Kline last saw her, he said, on -Wednesday, May 4r Spencer had w hat Kline later described as a cold. He brought I -i iff i r T MJ A U vc., 1 - in the case. actress, died nearly four years ago. ' her milk, eggs and orange juice. They snapped photographs of each -other. And Spencer talked about the Japan trip. Just a few nights earlier, she and her mother, Vernadine, who was in town for a visit, had driven to Hollywood for a planning meeting. "When I left that apartment, around midnight ... she was active, running around the apartment, making coffee," Kline said. A night later. Spencer called her sister, Julie, and had a discussion that would become central to the investigation. Spencer talked of having the flu and asked for the phone number for their mother. Vernadine, who was renting temporary quarters from a family in Los Angeles, had left the number with Julie for use in an emergency but only in an emergency. Julie, in an interview, said she pretended not to have the number, mindful of her mother's wishes; - her mothef -was afraid of disturbing -her hosts. "Crystal would get on that phone and just ring it off the The death of a topless dancer and aspiring . actress has evolved into a bizarre mystery a Unynx4 ncu Qt tuiltVISOttU botched evidence, lawsuits and persona! obsession; nearly four years ago, 29-year-old Crystal Spencer was found dead in her disheveled apartment, her partially nude body decomposed beyond recognition, her telephone taken off the hook; whether she was murdered, or merely died of a sudden illness, is a question that haunts investigators and her family. hook," Julie said. Spencer refused to believe her sister's claim and talked of being "really sick (saying) she could hardly make it to the bathroom," Julie recalled. "I think Crystal ... (was) hoping I would feel sorry for her and give her Mom's number." The phone call was the last conversation between Spencer and anyone in her family. Very late that night, or in the wee hours of the next night, noises were heard from the apartment. One neighbor told police that the sounds had started during the day, becoming worse as the night went on sounds "like (someone) really violently ill," according to Krafft. But the detective, citing confidentiality laws, declined to identify the neighbor or to release the related police reports. A floor down. Jet Taylor was awakened by his soon-to-be wife Susan Akin, a former Miss America who heard the noises at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Together, they listened to "moaning ... but high-pitched ... a muffled shrieking," Taylor said in an interview. "At first, I thought it was a sexual thing going on, an 'S&M' (sadomasochism) thing." That impression quickly changed. Akin, then 23, a newcomer to Los Angeles pursuing her own screen ambitions, said they listened nearly an hour. The cries were "very rhythmic .. at intervals boom, boom, boom," , Akin remembered. "All I could think about was somebody taking a cigarette butt to somebody and burning them. My gut reaction was that someone was being tortured." Still, they decided against calling - policerln the mo ruing,-Taylor mentioned the sounds to the apartment manager, w ho also .1 V Los Angeles Times photos refused to get involved. Kline, meanwhile, said he tried to call Spencer over the weekend. On Monday, he tried again. Then, "I called the Goose, where she worked, and I said to the doorman: 'Where's Crystal Spencer? I'm a friend of hers.' And he said to me: 'Crystal has left for Japan.' " Kline, a film company researcher and writer who had dated Spencer for about a year, recalled being "disturbed and angry about that ... confused" that she would leave without a goodbye He accepted it as fact, however. The body was discovered about a week later on Friday, the 13th -r-after neighbors complained of odors. Coroner's investigator Debrah Kitchings said the body was entangled in Spencer's telephone cord, perhaps a sign of physical struggle. Or maybe Spencer had failed in an attempt to summon help, to call for an ambulance. With the body so decayed, not even Spencer's race was certain. Kitchings, who has since retired, still suspects a "50-50" possibility of foul play, based on a "sixth sense" about the case. No emergency calls were ever recorded; if Spencer tried to phone for help, she apparently failed. The body was transported to the coroner's office. In its unidentifiable state, it was logged in as "Jane Doe No. 28," whereupon it was weighed, measured, affixed with "toe tags" for identification and rolled on a gurney into a refrigerated storage area that typically houses 200-300 bodies at a time, said coroner's spokesman Dambacher. The autopsy was performed three days later. Fingertips too deteriorated for normal printing were cut off and sent to a laboratory, Dambacher said. A pathologist then charted the few remaining observable characteristics of a black-haired Caucasian woman whose eye color was no longer discernible. The examination turned up no signs of trauma, no traces of drugs, aspirin or aspirin compounds, no bullet or knife wounds, no fractures, no evidence of rape or sexual attack. The cause of death: "Undetermined." According to Kline, family members had not received the report and were led by police to believe that Spencer died of illness when the body was cremated, hi tribute to Spencer's dreams of stardom, the ashes were scattered . in a ceremony beneath the -Hollywoodsign.- In September, Kline obtained B See DEATH, Page B10

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