By Peter Y. Hong - Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
The girl set the showdown for the oak-shaded lawn in front of the South Pasadena public library, a lovely spot for an ugly encounter.
She was a high school student with a painful secret that surfaced on her wrists, scarred where she had cut herself.
He was William French Anderson, world-renowned scientist, the father of gene therapy and a martial arts expert with law enforcement connections from the FBI to the chief of his hometown police department in San Marino.
Pillar of the community.
Without children of their own, the Andersons had long taken on what they called "surrogate children," guiding nine through college and in some cases medical school.
In Los Angeles, the girl became Anderson's next protege. Like him, she had early speech problems, talking only to her more outgoing twin sister in their own language.
The girl learned English in school but continued to let her twin speak for her. She had few friends and had been acting up at school.
I've cut out some of the sick details.
The girl lived with her family in a simple hillside house in South Pasadena, a short drive from Anderson's much grander residence, a spacious Cape Cod on a row of mansions across from the Huntington library and gardens. The twins built a treehouse in Anderson's backyard and had their friends over for get-togethers. Anderson bought the girl her prom dress.
It's quite an article. Check it out if you have a moment.