Susan Wiley/Reno Article 2

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Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) 20 Nov 1970 "Child isolation father commits suicide — police"

Arcadia (AP) — A man accused of keeping his 13-year-old daughter in seclusion for virtually her whole life, shot himself to death Friday morning moments before his estranged wife was arraigned on a charge of child abuse, authorities said.

Clark Wiley, 70, was to have been arraigned along with his wife Irene, 50, in nearby Alhambra Municipal Court. He was found dead at 8:45 a.m. by his son John, 18, at his home here.

Mrs. Wiley had entered a plea of not guilty before hearing of her husband's death.

"I informed her while we were sitting in court," said public defender Kenneth Spring. "She was visibly shaken but didn't break down. She just sat there silent. She was in shock, I think."

The parents had been charged with felony willful child abuse with intent to commit great bodily harm or death on their daughter Susan.

The child had been kept in her home for virtually all her life. She was admitted to Children's Hospital Nov. 4 for treatment, three days after Mrs. Wiley had left her husband.

Doctors said the girl had the physical development of a 10-year-old and the mental development of a 2-year-old. "She can only make mumbling in her throat," said one officer when the case came to light.

Sheriff's Lt. Larry Dykhouse said Wiley died from a gunshot wound in the head. A 38-caliber revolver was found near the body and the death was being ruled a suicide, he said.

He said a note to Wiley's son found on a nearby table said, in effect, "John will understand."

A Dec. 4 preliminary hearing was set for Mrs. Wiley.

"She has been maligned and I think that her true feelings will come out in a hearing," Spring said. "If this case does anything, though, I hope it serves to open the eyes of the rest of the country that any sort of treatment of a child like this is a tragedy."

— Transcribed Apr 2008, from the original image, by Will Johnson,, Professional Genealogist

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