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Marilyn Monroe’s Mother Escapes from Mental Asylum

July 5, 1963 - The mother of late movie star Marilyn Monroe was found outside a San Fernando Valley church this morning, more than 24 hours after she escaped from a Glendale mental institution by lowering herself from a closet window. Police said Mrs. Gladys Baker Eley (right), 60, apparently had spent the night in a water heater cabinet outside the Lakeview Terrace Baptist Church. “The Lord told me I’d be warm in there,” she told Rev. J. Brian Reid, who found her waiting for him on the church steps. The pastor said the tiny woman had squeezed in next to the heater to keep warm while clutching a Bible and a Christian Science handbook. Investigators said Mrs. Eley had walked 15 miles to the church from Rockhaven Sanitarium, where she has been a patient for 10 years. Mrs. Eley had a mental breakdown shortly after the birth of her daughter, Norma Jeane Baker, who later became the world-famous Marilyn Monroe. She has spent a great part of her life in mental hospitals. She told Rev. Reid she had wanted to get away from Rockhaven because she could not practice her religion there. Police said she was good satisfactory condition. They returned her to the sanitarium.


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