Whitney P. Vance (b. 1931, d. Oct. 9, 2016) was the Chairman of the Board of Advance Engineering, a highly successful company. The family fortune had been started by his great-grandfather who came to California for gold but soon turned to iron and steel. His grandfather and father (Nelson) expanded their metals empire. Nelson became interested in the emerging field of aviation and partnered with Howard Hughes. Whitney was an only child and Hughes was his godfather. Whitney studied film at USC and aeronautical engineering at Caltech. The Viet Nam War was a boon to the company which supplied aircraft parts and other war materials to the military. He wrote a book titled "Stealth: The Making of the Disappearing Plane." He lived in a palatial estate on San Rafael Avenue in Pasadena and his net worth was estimated to be about $6 billion.
As of 2016 Vance was 85 years of age and suffering from a recurrence of an unspecified cancer. He was frail, using a wheelchair and no longer able to write, so he relied heavily on his longtime assistant, Ida Townes Forsythe. However, he kept his incapacity secret so that others in the company would not have ammunition to oust him. He had never married but believed he had one illegitimate child with Vibiana Duarte while he was at USC. He had a will from 1992 and a codicil from a year later. In October 2016 he directed his security firm to set up a private meeting with Harry Bosch in which he asked Bosch to find Vibiana and determine if he did have an heir.
On Wednesday, 5 October, 2016, Vance felt very ill and believed he was going to die. He decided to draft a new will based on the assumption that Bosch had found his heir. He did not involve his personal attorney, Cecil Dobbs because he did not think there was time. Instead, he wanted to make this a new holographic will superseding his old will. Since he was unable to write, he dictated the new will to Forsythe and had her transcribe it in imitation of his handwriting, giving the impression that he had written it himself. Then he directed her to mail it to Bosch, along with the pen she had used to write it.
Four days after this, Vance was feeling considerably better and decided to rescind the holographic will in favor of a new one to be drafted by Dobbs. However, he died under suspicious circumstances before this could be done. Pasadena police detectives ruled it murder.