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2 mummified babies found in L.A. basement

August 18, 2010 12:46:14 AM PDT
The remains of two fetuses were discovered in the basement of an apartment building in L.A.'s Westlake District. The remains appear to be from the 1930s, according to the coroner's office.The building in the 800 block of South Lake Street dates back to the 1920s, and authorities said the remains were wrapped in copies of the Los Angeles Times that date back to the 1930s.

The building was home to doctors, lawyers, writers and actors.

"It's a little creepy because, I mean, I've only lived here for a year, but I know people that have lived here for years and years and years," said resident Tyler Bennett.

The coroner's office is working to identify the remains and determine a cause of death. Officials said the remains are mummified and in surprisingly good condition.

Building manager Gloria Gomez made the discovery while cleaning out an old trunk in the basement. The basement had been used for storage by tenants for a long time.

"We didn't know exactly what it was," she said. "We thought they were pieces from another body. My friend thought it was an animal. She said, 'Can we bury it?' I said, 'No, no. Let's call the police.'"

Residents said that at one time, a lot of Hollywood stars lived in the building, and some have their own theories on where the remains came from.

"Some people are really speculating already," said building resident Mike Becerra. "She must have had an abortion or something bad must have happened, but it could be anything."

Along with 1932 ticket stubs from the Olympics in Los Angeles, there were also books and documents found in the trunk bearing the name Jean Barrie.

"She was very famous, I guess, because she traveled all over the world, and we got some information of 'Peter Pan,' she used to be the first writer or the first club," Gomez said.

James Barrie was the author of "Peter Pan," but at this point, there is no indication Jean was related. In fact, there is no evidence yet that Jean is connected to the remains other than the fact that the documents were found in the same trunk.

When asked if there was anything interesting on the L.A. Times issue that the remains were wrapped in, LAPD Lt. Cory Palka said, "I looked at it briefly. There were some issues involving a John Dillinger shooting, things that were taking place in the city of Los Angeles from that era, quite historic, quite notable."

Gomez said there was also a diamond necklace, other jewelry, wedding photos and more.

"I feel like we liberated them," Gomez said. "I feel like they're going to rest in peace."


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