Eva Tice. Someone stabbed her to death as she walked home from church services near 9th Street and Pacific Avenue.
Eva Tice. Someone stabbed her to death as she walked home from church services near 9th Street and Pacific Avenue.

Every time homicide detective Patty Batts opens a cabinet near her desk in San Pedro, she sees Eva's Bible.

"It sits here every day," Batts said. "I can't bring myself to do anything else with it. It's my constant reminder that this poor woman doesn't have anybody else speaking for her."

Monday will mark one year since Batts started her search for the killer who stabbed 60-year-old Eva Tice to death as she walked home from her San Pedro church on Christmas Eve. Tice, who had a mental capacity that ranged from a 6-year-old child to a teenager, died on a Pacific Avenue sidewalk, her Bible on the ground at her side.

Tice's death remains unsolved. Following their church service Monday, Hope Chapel San Pedro members are planning a candlelight march to pray at the site where Tice died.

"There is a lot of anger over it," said Becky Aldape, administrative assistant at the Ninth Street church. "It could happen to anybody, but her of all people? Everybody is still upset that nobody has been caught. She was just a wonderful lady. She was like a child inside, really."

Her Bible in hand, Tice had walked from her apartment on 12 th Street for the 6 p.m. Christmas Eve service.

"I remember during that day she was looking forward to the Christmas play," friend Joe Baroni said. "Eva was sitting right in front of me. She was all happy."

Tice, a ward of the state since her parents were killed in a car crash when she was a young child, left the church quickly. Her roommate's sister had presented her with a coloring book and crayons for Christmas and she could not wait to get home to color.

"There were people trying to give her a ride home," Aldape said. "She didn't want any delays, which is why she didn't want the rides."

Police do not know what happened. The 4-foot-11-inch woman walked along Pacific Avenue from Ninth Street. Someone stabbed her between 11 th and 12 th streets. Residents found Tice moaning on the sidewalk, covered with blood. She had been stabbed multiple times.

"It was a really brutal, brutal crime," Baroni said. "She was harmless. She was literally harmless."

If the motive was robbery, Tice had little to offer. Earlier in the day at a swap meet in the church parking lot, Baroni bought her a chicken tamale and a soda for lunch. She had $1 on her and borrowed another from Baroni to buy a costume jewelry ring. If she was wearing the ring, it was worthless.

"I can't comprehend how a person can do that to another person - just to go up and brutally murder her," Baroni said.

The Los Angeles City Council has offered a $50,000 reward for information that would help detectives solve the slaying. Every once in a while, someone arrested in another case offers detectives information in search of a deal, but so far nothing has panned out, Batts said.

Baroni believes someone other than the killer knows something.

"It must be a real savage person to stab a little old (mentally disabled) lady to death," he said. "That person isn't incarcerated. That person is still out there and could still kill another person."

Police ask that anyone with information call Los Angeles police Harbor Area detectives at 310-726-7889.

larry.altman@dailybreeze.com

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