The House on Littler Lane – The Death of Anissa Jones


Blog Note:  Go HERE to read the police report.

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They say that the weather in southern California is awesome, quite possibly the best anywhere on Earth. But, when the sun goes down and movie stars and celebrities begin to play, anything can happen. There is simply no place for the dirty laundry or hard truths to hide, for they are right out in the open at daybreak. That goes for washed up actors and former child stars as well. It happens all too often. This case, though, is a bit different. It was one of the first shocking deaths of a former child star. This was Buffy.

Photo credit - Kathy Garver's book "Surviving Cissy"

Photo credit – Kathy Garver’s book “Surviving Cissy”

The story of Anissa Jones, former star of the series “Family Affair” is no less strange or bizarre than anything that has ever happened to Hollywood. This sad episode occurred in 1976 and is still being discussed on internet forums and discussion boards by her die hard fans and admirers. The tale is wrought with mystery, who-dun-its, and cries of foul play. The authorities called it an accidental death, and it looked like a case of teens partying too much, and a young girl overdosed. Case closed…sounds simple enough. Or was it? Let’s take a look at the evidence, societal issues and the drug culture of the 1970s.

Anissa (pron. uh-NEE-sa) was 18 when she died of a massive drug overdose at a female friend’s house party in Oceanside, CA in 1976. The 2,500 square foot, four bedroom home was newly built in 1974. It was last on the market in 1994, so no interior photos are available.

There are many questions, and few answers in Anissa’s passing. It was this story that shocked Americans most during the year of our Bicentennial. I was 7 years old, and I still remember my mother telling me about it. I remember feeling really confused. I guess I thought the girl in that show was still a little kid. She was and she wasn’t.

The only recent publicity this story has received was on E’s True Hollywood Story in the mid-90s. That said, it was an episode some say was marred with errors and needless accusations. The mother was blamed, the father got off the hook, whatever. The show was poorly researched and relied on few witnesses as to the home life of Anissa and her brother, Paul. We cannot look at “E” to solve this for they had their chance.

The real answers lay with what people who lived in her neighborhood had seen, people who knew Anissa, her friends, acquaintances, classmates, kids in her beach and L.A. subculture, local area druggies, etc. After that data is gleaned and filtered, everything comes out in the wash, believe me. It was a simple drug overdose by a girl that lived fast and died tragically. But first, let’s look at the rest of the story.

This donut shop used to be Winchells, and Anissa worked here in 1975. 8139 W. Manchester, Playa Del Rey.

This donut shop used to be Winchells, and Anissa worked here in 1975. 8139 W. Manchester, Playa Del Rey.

SUICIDE?

Anissa had recently bought birth control pills, was with friends non-stop, rented a beach house in San Diego, and she had made some long-term business and financial arrangements. That is hardly the premeditated behavior of a person about to commit suicide. Suicide is out as cause of death as far as I am concerned.

A YOUNG DRUG CULTURE AND RAMPANT DIVORCE

Let’s face it. The seventies were the golden age of divorce and a massive increase in single-parent families. My parents divorced in 1975. Few families on our street had both parents. It’s pretty sad, and it tore me up at age 5.

Without proper supervision, kids and young teens ran wild. After the failed summer of love and all the promise of a new world, hippie madness, the only thing leftover was Rock-n-Roll and the bitter taste of broken families, street drugs, and this was everywhere. Watch the movie, Foxes, starring Jodie Foster to get the idea. It came out 3 years after Anissa’s death, but you’ll definitely pick up the vibe. That movie is hauntingly familiar to me.

In the early seventies, Richard Nixon had just ramped up his big drug campaign and this was just a few years before Anissa’s death. Things were bad and it would get worse before it got better. Young adults, teens and kids could get drugs just about anyplace. Anissa’s place to get prescription drugs, Quaaludes, Seconals (uppers/downers) was from an elderly Dr. Feelgood in Torrance, California.

September 26, 1976. He was also cited for speeding once in 1951: Going 45 in a 30mph zone. LOL. I stumbled across that while searching for this.

September 26, 1976. He was also cited for speeding once in 1951: Going 45 in a 30 mph zone. LOL. I stumbled across that while searching for this.

Enter one Dr. Don Carlos Moshos. He had but a short time to live due to a terminal illness and he wanted to leave a bigger nest egg for his family. Cops said he generated something like $500,000 in less than a year peddling his prescription dope. Since his office ran their own pharmacy or dispensary it was easy, he was selling anything to anyone over 18 who could pay the $15 fee. You pay for the doctor’s visit and you get some pills. It was similar to today’s pill mills I am sure. Anissa would also get cocaine and PCP from the local drug dealers in her neighborhood in Playa Del Rey.

Dr. Moshos office at 1617 Cravens Ave in Torrance, CA. The kids would actually line up outside to get their pills.

Dr. Moshos office at 1617 Cravens Ave in Torrance, CA. The kids would actually line up outside to get their pills.

THE NIGHT ANISSA DIED AND THE AFTERMATH

Ten or twelve kids were at the house at various times during the party or after Anissa’s body was found. That is in the police report. What is also there, is that one of the girls was 12 years old. Talk about starting to party at a young age- that will just about do it! Here are some facts from the police report:

  • Although a bizarre end, the cops ruled this an accidental death due to overdose. I agree.
  • The party goers or those present (guys and girls) ranged in age from 12 to 22 years old.
  • A few neighborhood kids showed up after she was dead but before the EMTs, just to gawk or check out the scene. They were in the house.
  • One boy gave a false name, only to fess up later saying he was just scared.
  • One girl’s parents came over right away and whisked away their daughter, only to have to explain this later to the cops.
  • The 22-year-old man was not at the party. He was a drug dealer in Anaheim. The kids called him to find out what to do. He allegedly drives the 2 or so hours to Oceanside. This is quite bizarre.
  • One boy borrowed Anissa’s car to go back to Anissa’s apartment in Playa Del Rey to get the rest of the drugs before they were confiscated. He said he was going to breakfast.
  • The host of the party was a 14-year-old girl who lived at the house with her divorced father. This girl died at age 34 in a car accident collision in Keaau, Hawaii in 1996. Another woman died in the car with her. The people in the other car survived. Keaau-Pahoa Road is a short but dangerous highway, south of Hilo on the big island. Helen was married in 1994. She was survived by her husband who now lives on the mainland. You can read more about Helen here.
Helen Hennessy. Fallbrook High School. 1976. It is the only year she attended that school. After that... nobody knows.

Helen Hennessy. Fallbrook High School, CA. 1976. It is the only year she attended that school. After that… nobody knows.

One of the last known photos of Anissa

Anissa died between 2-4am, was found nude by her friend, but was found wearing boxer shorts and no shirt when the emergency crew arrived. The police/fire crew were not called until about noon the next day. Death photos have never surfaced online and I hope they never do. Anissa’s body was found so full of drugs that the coroner called it “the most massive overdose I have ever seen”. Anissa was 18-years-old, barely 5’ tall and weighed 90 lbs, and she had been doing drugs all day.

Anissa was survived by her mother and her beloved brother, Paul. Paul later died in 1984 of a drug overdose, likely from a heart attack due to cocaine abuse. His mother, now all alone, kept his last empty pack of Marlboro Red cigarettes as a keepsake. Her babies were all gone. And now, Anissa’s immediate family are all dead and gone too. Anissa would have been in her mid-50’s today in 2012. She had no funeral and her body was cremated, her ashes were spread at sea. She left her family over $150,000 in cash and assets.

Rest in Peace. The End.

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