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A homicide investigation was underway Tuesday into the stabbing death of the 86-year-old widow of a onetime Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Antonia Maria Yager was found dead in her bed about 7:25 p.m. Monday at her home in upscale Windsor Square, about a half-block from Larchmont Village.
A caretaker found the body during a routine visit to the home in the 100 block of North Beachwood Drive, said Sgt. Mike Stewart of the LAPD’s Wilshire Station.
“It’s not a self-inflicted wound,” Stewart said.
LAPD Lt. John Radtke said the victim was very active for her age.
“She took care of herself, (she) liked to drive around and run her errands every day, so (this was) a big surprise,” Radtke told reporters.
“We’re still at the beginning of this,” he said. “So, what we’re doing is a very slow, methodical investigation … we’re looking for fingerprints, we’re looking for footprints, we’re looking for blood. We’re looking for anything that might help us identify the person who may have been involved in this crime.”
Yager’s friends and neighbors were shocked at her death, remembering her as a generous benefactor of the Assistance League of Los Angeles. She had no children and no family in Los Angeles.
Trisha Cardinale, her longtime hairdresser, friend and travel companion, was one of the last people to see Yager alive. She told NBC4 that she had dinner with her friend on Sunday night at the nearby Wilshire Country Club.
“It was like losing my mother,” Cardinale said. “It’s unconceivable. I just pray to God that she did not suffer, you know, because she was just wonderful. Just wonderful.”
She remembered Yager as “so stately, you know? I mean, always put together. That was Toni.”
Joyce Skinner said she knew something wasn’t right when she tried to bring Yager some pastries, and her neighbor didn’t come to the door on Monday.
“I rang and rang the bell, and no answer,” Skinner told Channel 4. “I thought, that’s not like Toni.”
Skinner said Yager “was concerned about the children, you know, and she did donate quite well to the Assistance League. It was her life.”
The victim had been a widow since 2008, when Thomas Yager died at the age of 90. He was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court bench in 1958 and retired in 1978.
It was only the third homicide since 2000 in Windsor Square, which is adjacent to Hancock Park, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call homicide detectives at (213) 382-9470, or (877) LAPD-247.
—Staff and wire reports
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