Real Name: Dr. Theodore Allan Loseff
Location: Hancock Park, California
Date: February 23, 1974
Details: Ted Loseff was a forty-year-old orthopedic surgeon living in Hancock Park near Los Angeles, California. He had married two years earlier and was having marital problems. There was a prenuptial agreement indicating that his wife Wilda would get nothing if the marriage ended in divorce. At 8 pm on the evening of February 23, 1974, she called the police, claiming that he was inside the house with a gun. Police searched the house but found no trace of him. A few minutes later, he was found dead in his car in his garage with a hose pumping in exhaust. Authorities quickly ruled the death a suicide, without performing an autopsy or an intensive investigation. A supposed suicide note asking his wife for compassion was found. Ted's mother Zel believes he was murdered.
Shortly after Ted's death, Zel met with Wilda; Wilda indicated that she was happy that Ted was dead. At this point, Zel began to believe that her son had not committed suicide; she believed that Wilda was involved in his death. The discrepancies with the death scene came to Zel in a bizarre dream. She remembered that before Ted's death, the garage was filled with boxes; Ted had had back surgery shortly before his death, and he would have been unable to move all of the boxes to place his car in the garage. Also, she remembered that the gate to the garage was difficult to move; as a result, Ted always parked his car outside of the gate, near the front of the house.
After these inconsistencies came to light, Zel decided to look for more information, in an attempt to reverse the ruling on her son's death. She tracked down Ted and Wilda's former housekeeper, Mary, who also felt that Ted's death was suspicious. Mary claimed that on the afternoon of Ted's death, she arrived at the home and learned that Ted was planning on divorcing Wilda.
Shortly after that, Wilda came down the stairs in hysterics, claiming that Ted had a gun. Mary said that she did not see a gun. Mary told Ted that she did not want to work while the two were fighting, so he paid her for her work and she left. As she was pulling out of the driveway, however, she noticed Wilda in the street. Wilda told Mary that she was afraid to go back into the house, so Mary agreed to take Wilda back to her house, so she can call the police.
After arriving back at her house, Mary called the police; however, they told her that nothing could be done because she had not actually seen Ted with a gun. Mary tried to call the Loseff home, but the line was busy. Between 3 pm and 8 pm, Mary attempted to call the home twenty times, but each time she got a busy signal. Then, shortly after 8 pm, she called Ted again and the phone finally rang. However, Ted did not answer the phone. Mary decided to call the police again. By 9 pm, the police had arrived and found Ted's body in the garage.
Although the suicide note seemed to confirm the suspicious of the police, Mary felt that something wasn't right about the note. She remembered that when she cleaned Ted's shirts, she only used coat hangers. She had never used shirt cardboard, which was what the note was written on.
Then, when Mary and her husband viewed Ted's body, she noticed that he was wearing gray pants and a white dress shirt. However, when she left earlier that day, she remembered that he was wearing brown pants and a mustard-colored shirt. Mary said she was never able to find the brown pants and mustard-colored shirt after Ted's death. Also, when she went inside the house, Mary found four empty beer cans, along with four dirty glasses; Ted rarely drank.
About a week after Ted's death, Mary had found unusual stains on the bedspread in the guest bedroom. She believed that the stains were vomit. Wilda claimed that the vomit belong to one of her dogs. However, Mary remembered that the dogs were in a kennel at that time. When she washed the sheets, the vomit disappeared.
With the new information from Mary, Zel felt that she had more than enough evidence to take to the police. Finally, in 1978, an autopsy was performed on Ted. The pathologist determined that Ted suffered a violent vomiting spell shortly before his death. The pathologist stated that the vomit should have been found on Ted's clothes along with his car. However, no evidence of vomit was found. This led the pathologist to determine that the vomiting occurred somewhere other than the car. As a result of this and other new evidence, the pathologist ruled Ted's death a homicide.
Based on the evidence, Zel has pieced together what she believes happened to Ted on the afternoon of his death. She believes that shortly after Mary and Wilda left the house, Ted was attacked by at least two men. She believes that the men were close to Wilda; they presumably entered through the back door, which Wilda told them was unlocked. The autopsy indicated that Ted had been in a struggle; Zel believes that the men took Ted to the guest bedroom (where the vomit was found) and forced poison down his throat.
One of the assailants then took the phone of the hook, in order to signify to Wilda that the attack was in place. They then cleaned and undressed Ted and put on the different clothes that Mary noticed he was wearing. The assailants moved the boxes in the garage, opened the gate, drove Ted's car into the garage, and then put Ted's body in the car. After finishing everything, one of the assailants then hung up the phone, telling Wilda that the job was done.
In March of 1982, the Los Angeles County coroner finally ordered an inquest. At the inquest, a friend testified that the "suicide" note was written by Ted, but that Ted had written the note two years earlier, following an argument much earlier in the marriage. The inquest ultimately ruled that Ted's death was a homicide.
On May 1, 1983, Wilda died from an overdose of drugs and alcohol. Two years after Wilda's death, the authorities completed their inquiry, ruling that the cause of Ted's death was "undetermined". However, Zel is convinced that someone has gotten away with murder; she still hopes that the case can be solved, and that the men Wilda hired can be identified and arrested.
Suspects: Wilda Loseff is the prime suspect in the case; Zel Loseff believes that she hired two men to commit the murder. The alleged hitmen have never been identified.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the October 13, 1993 episode of Unsolved Mysteries. The housekeeper's name was changed to "Mary" to protect her identity.
Results: Unsolved. No new investigations were ever done in the death of Dr. Loseff. Sadly, Zel passed away in 2010 without learning the truth in her son's death.
- Ted Loseff on Unsolved.com
- A Mother's Obsession: Justice for Son
- Mother's Long Fight to Prove Son Did Not Kill Himself
- Ted and Zel Loseff at Find a Grave