The last time the Norris sisters saw their older brother James, he was rushing to deposit his beloved Afghan hound at their mother’s California home.
“We had no idea he was even in town,” Kathie Norris, who was 18 at the time, recalled to The Daily Beast about her brother’s surprise Oct. 2, 1974, visit. “He dropped off his dog, Casaelya, and that’s when he said he was going on vacation. He asked us to watch his dog and said he would be gone for four or five days, something like that.”
At the time, Norris—a 24-year-old “hippie who could light up a room,” as Kathie put it—was living in San Francisco, about an hour away from his family’s home in Solano County. A college graduate with shoulder-length brown hair, he was described by all of his sisters as a devotee to Vietnam-era anti-war protests who “lived a real bohemian lifestyle” and was passionate about his dog.