Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Detective Kilcoyne Part 2: The Golay and Rutterschmidt Case Continued

This is a continuation ofDetective Dennis Kilcoyne's, LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division, talk given at the California Crime Writer's Conference in June 2011. Part 1 is here

Kilcoyne had more to say about investigating the "Black Widows": Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt. 

The women, both in their seventies, had taken out multiple life insurance policies on homeless men whom they later murdered, staging the crimes to look like hit-and-run accidents.  They collected millions.  Kilcoyne said that Golay was financially well-off, owning several properties and living in an upscale home in Santa Monica.  Rutterschmidt however lived in a small apartment in Hollywood and struggled to keep up with Golay's lifestyle.  Rutterschmidt had a goal of getting enough money to move to Canada and start a business.  When asked what Golay's motive was, Kilcoyne said he didn't know.

Because "the girls" were charged with mail fraud from mailing forged life insurance policies, federal crimes were involved and an FBI agent was assigned to work the case with Kilcoyne.  The push-pull between municipal cops and G-men treading the same turf that's a crime novel staple apparently has a basis in reality.  Kilcoyne poked fun at his FBI cohort, describing him as a guileless redhead from the Midwest whom the LAPD RHD team nicknamed "Opie."  

When the day came to apprehend the girls, Rutterschmidt's arrest went smoothly.  Kilcoyne was concerned about taking down "the mastermind" Golay and planned for every eventuality. Kilcoyne had a video crew on-scene because he wanted a record if Golay accused the cops of wrongdoing. 

Golay's home was a fortress with high walls.  On the arrest night, a team rapeled over them and onto Golay's property. Golay was home alone, reading on a couch in her living room, wearing a flimsy nightgown.  Kilcoyne remembered seeing a single book on her coffee table.  The book jacket was creepy, with eyes looking out.  He said the title was something about "the sociopath inside" and pointed at the audience and said, "Probably one of you guys wrote it."

I did some research and the book was likely The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.  Truly, you can't make this stuff up.

After they pulled Golay, then 74, out of the house and she was standing on the sidewalk in her see-through nightie, handcuffed, Kilcoyne had a chance to razz the FBI agent whose eyes dropped when looking at Golay.  "Caught you looking, Opie.  Got it on tape."


  1. Oh my god. You're right, you can't make this stuff up.

    Well, maybe you could.

  2. Petrea, whenever I stretch to make something sound really crazy in my fiction, I always wonder if I've gone over the top. Reality still trumps fiction.