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Remains of babies dead for possibly 70 years found in L.A. basement [Updated]

August 18, 2010 |  6:17 am

The bodies of two babies wrapped in Los Angeles Times newspapers from the 1930s were found in an apartment building basement near downtown L.A.

Workers found the bodies Tuesday evening when cleaning out the basement. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the remains were found with personal letters and tickets to the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The LAPD and the Los Angeles coroner's office are investigating. A coroner's official told The Times that the newspaper-wrapped bodies of the children had a mummified appearance.

[Updated at 6:50 a.m.: The grim discovery was made in one of L.A.'s oldest districts, a densely populated area of apartments west of downtown Los Angeles near MacArthur Park. Officials said they have launched an investigation, but it's unclear whether anyone who lived in the apartment during the 1930s is still in the area.

Law enforcement sources told The Times that the case is being classified for now as a "death investigation" and not a homicide. Officials will attempt to determine how the babies died -- likely with the help of forensic anthropologists. They will also look for any reports of missing babies during this period and attempt to find anyone who lived in the apartment at the time.]

LAPD Lt. Cory Palka told KTLA News the remains were found inside a steamer trunk in an apartment in the 800 block of Lake Street in the Westlake District.

The coroner's office is examining the remains to see if it can determine a cause of death. Authorities believe the babies have been deceased for seven decades but will perform tests.

-- Andrew Blankstein