Notes from the Missy Avila Case
by Traciy Curry-Reyes
Before the murder 1985
Laura Doyle worked in a supermarket bakery at the time of the murder.
About 3 weeks before the murder Karen Severson, Victor Amaya, and Missy Avila were hanging out at Victor's home outside. Laura Doyle passes by the home, and Victor and Missy begin to kiss and hug. This angers Laura, and it sets in motion the events of October 1, 1985. Remember in the movie when Laura and Karen pretended to fight? It showed Missy getting out of the car in an attempt to break up the fight. In reality it did not happen this way. A witness said that Missy was sitting in the car observing the fight terrified by what she was seeing. Also, Victor Amaya could not really remember, but he thinks this occurred in front of his parent’s house.
October 1, 1985
Missy leaves the house with Laura, and the two go to meet Karen and Eva Chirumbolo at Stonehurst Park in Sun Valley. In two separate cars, they all drive to Wicky Up better known as Colby Canyon in Angeles National Forrest, which is 45 minutes from Arleta.
Missy is murdered.
The day of the murder Irene Avila remembers how especially pretty Missy looked that day. She was all excited to go. She even turned to her mom and said, "I love you," which is something that she did not ordinarily do. Irene's mother says that scene haunts her until this day.
About 3 hours after Missy's murder, Irene receives a phone call from Barbara Doyle, Laura's mother, asking if Missy was home yet.
At 8pm Missy has not returned home as she stated that she would, and Irene is now worried. She stays up all night.
October 4, 1985
According to the book based on this case, 3 days after the murder some hikers found Missy's body. At first they thought that it was a small animal because the body was so small and the log was so big and heavy. Missy was wearing a gold anklet. One earring was found in her hair, and a denim purse was nearby. The contents of her purse included: red lip balm, purple compact, perfume, a comb, orange wallet, and her school identification. Missy lay flat on her tummy and one foot was placed over the other, her arm was bent back behind her arm, and bent at the elbow, which indicated that two people were carrying her. A school of minnows were swimming across her back feeding upon her. Flies also swarmed over her body. Rigor Mortis was complete. Her eyes were partially opened, and her body was turned over, the hikers stated that she had a fearful frozen look of horror on her face. When the coroner did the autopsy he found no drugs or alcohol in her body. Only the breakfast she had eaten that morning, and Missy was having her monthly cycle at the time, a tampon gently placed into her vagina indicated this.
Karen moves in with Irene Avila. Victor Amaya also stayed with Irene during this time, but he left either the next day or the same night that he almost killed Randi Fernandez. In the movie Irene Avila, played by Patty Duke, was a little uncomfortable at first at the thought of Karen moving in, however in reality this was not the case. Irene Avila welcomed Karen with open arms. She wanted to talk about Missy constantly, and Karen helped her do that. She could not see that Karen was morbidly obsessed with Missy. In the movie Irene was against Karen sleeping in Missy's room, but in reality, Karen slept in Missy's bed and wore Missy's clothing. That is until Karen claimed an apparition of Missy visited her there one night, I think this is when Karen moved out. Irene Avila did not ask her to move out as depicted in the movie
Once Karen moved out she enrolled in beauty school and scared the devil out of a friend she made there. The friend noticed Karen's obsession with Missy and was really scared to death of her. She also later found out that Karen had been calling her house and telling her 'I know you killed Missy.' Now, here is another problem...In the movie they depicted Eva Chirumbolo as a sweet innocent person, and she may have been, but no one is sure how much she actually knew about what would happen to Karen. Remember she was living with Karen at the time, so it is doubtful that she had no idea what was going to happen.
Karen Severson to be tried as an adult
Karen pleads innocent the next day
Defense says that the witness Eva lied on the witness stand according toKymi Reel another friend of the girls.
March 9, 1990
Karen Severson and Laura Doyle are sentenced 15 years to life in prison
Michele Avila's mom starts victims group
Karen Kingsbury's, the lady who covered the murder and trial, releases her book.
Laura and Karen ask the courts to reverse the convictions
Severson denied parole
Laura Doyle denied parole
Karen Severson denied parole
July 2011: Karen Severson has been recommended for parole. She will most likely be released at the end of this year.
Where they are now
Victor Amaya still lives in Arleta-Pacoima area of California. He stopped doing drugs, and he has worked as a dispatcher for the same company for the past 10 years. He has 2 children and a 2 year old granddaughter. He is divorced, but has a girlfriend.
The Avila's moved away from Arleta. Irene has moved around alot since the trial. She stated that she has had a hard time settling down. According to Victor Amaya, Irene and her sons have had some severe emotional and behavioral problems since Missy's death.
Karen Severson's parents still live in Arleta, California on the same street a few houses down from the Avila's old home. Paula Severson sat on a jury trial for Robert Blake's civil court trial that found him liable in his wife's death. She failed to disclose the fact that she had been in a high profile murder case, and that her daughter was convicted of murder. This came to light when a postman who also sat on the jury recognized the address, and told Paula that she remembered that the murder of Missy Avila happened there. She said that Paula turned stone faced. Anyway, Robert Blake motioned for a new trial in 2006 based on this. Karen had a sister too. She has her own business in California.