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LAPD detectives identify owner of trunk containing dead babies

September 2, 2010 | 10:38 am


The Los Angeles Police Department has identified the owner of a trunk containing the remains of two babies and have made contact with that person's relatives.

LAPD detectives are expected to release further details in the case later Thursday.

The trunk, which was opened by two women clearing out an apartment's basement in the Westlake district last month, contained postcards, clothing, photographs and books — along with two leather doctor's satchels. Each of the satchels held the body of a baby, swaddled in newspaper from the 1930s.

The photographs and the clothing, including a flapper-style dress, suggest that the woman who owned the trunk was petite, with fair skin and brown hair, detectives said. Some of the postcards were sent from San Francisco and others from Canada.

Detectives have been looking for links to Janet M. Barrie, who lived at the Glen-Donald apartment building in 1948, 1950 and 1954, according to voter registration records.

She was born in Scotland in 1901 and immigrated to Canada and then the United States, according to immigration paperwork from the 1940s.

On one immigration form, Barrie wrote that she was 5 foot 1, with fair skin and brown hair. On the form, she said she had lived in Los Angeles and Chicago between 1925 and 1941. U.S. census records show that in 1930 Barrie was living in a boardinghouse near MacArthur Park and was working as a private nurse.

Her work as a nurse could be significant because detectives say there was a bundle of blank medical test forms in the trunk.

-- Kate Linthicum

Photo: LAPD Juvenile Division Capt. Fabian Lizarraga discusses the photo of a woman who investigators believe is Jean M. Barrie. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times