A story for every victim

Annie Margaret Bell, 86

Annie Margaret Bell, an 86-year-old black woman, was stabbed to death Sunday, June 18, in the 44600 block of Stillwater Drive in Lancaster, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigators. 

The incident began about 7:07 p.m. when the Sheriff’s Department received a call about an open window at the residence. 

Lt. Eddie Hernandez said neighbors saw what they believed to be the contents of a purse in Bell’s backyard, and noticed the open window. When deputies arrived, they were able to see the victim through the window, lying on her bed. She was pronounced dead at the scene with multiple stab wounds to her upper torso, Hernandez said. 

During the investigation that evening, neighbors told investigators that they had recently seen a 14-year-old boy in the area who did not live in the neighborhood and that the boy was hiding in the bushes a few houses away from Bell’s home.

Hernandez said investigators found the boy, questioned him and then arrested him on suspicion of murder. 

Tony Donnell Brown, a 14-year-old black teenager, was charged as an adult on June 22 with one count of murder and two counts of first-degree burglary with the person present. Brown also faces a special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed during a first-degree burglary and a special allegation that the defendant used a knife. 

The Sheriff’s Department restricted information about the case through a so-called security hold and refused to release Bell’s name. Her name was released by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office on June 23 when it announced the charges against Brown. 

The security hold means the Los Angeles County coroner’s office cannot release information about the victim or her autopsy.

Bell used a wheelchair, but she valued her independence and lived on her own, said her daughter, Hallie Conley. “I’d do things for her. I’d go empty the trash for her and pick up her mail, but she did a lot for herself even though she was in a wheelchair. She was very, very independent.”

The victim was well-known in her neighborhood and the community, Hernandez said. She had just received recognition from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on May 21 for her 17 years of volunteer work at the Antelope Valley Senior Center.

“I had the opportunity to recognize Ms. Bell at our Older American’s Day Reception last month, where she was honored for her many contributions to the senior citizen community in the Antelope Valley,” Supervisor Mike Antonovich said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this loss.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Jeanette Marantos

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