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Changeling -- Part X

November 6, 2008 |  5:39 am

Los Angeles Times file photo

Gordon Northcott ignores his attorneys and argues with the judge, Dec. 5, 1928.

Oct. 17, 1928: The Police Commission decides not to punish Capt. J.J. Jones for putting Christine Collins in a mental ward.

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The most enduring question from "Changeling" is what became of Christine Collins. Unfortunately, the answer is fairly murky. We know from The Times that she lived at 217 N. Avenue 23, above, when Walter was killed by Gordon Northcott in 1928.

Los Angeles Times file photo

Prosecutors asked for an all-male jury, saying that the evidence would be too gruesome for any woman.

Oct. 17, 1928: Neighbors say Christine Collins was delusional.
Sept. 13, 1930: Collins wins $10,800 in damages against Capt J.J. Jones.

"Attorney Hahn pictured Mrs. Collins
as an anguished mother thrown in among deranged persons to emerge disgraced, unnerved and branded as
of unsound mind."


Sept. 14, 1930, left: Christine Collins plans to use the damages assessed against Capt. J.J. Jones to find out what happened to her son Walter.

Oct. 1, 1930, above: Shortly before Gordon Northcott was executed, Collins met with him one more time. She spoke with him for an hour, never asking directly if he killed her son. He finished the interview by saying:

"I only have two days to live, Mrs. Collins, and I am telling you the truth. I know nothing about your boy."

Oct. 1, 1930: Northcott makes obscene goodbyes to death row inmates on his way to the execution cell.

Jan. 29, 1941: The last time we hear of Christine Collins. The Times did not publish her address.

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According to the 1936 city directory, a woman named Christine Collins lived at 584 E. Avenue 28, but no one by that name appears in the later online directories. I was also unable to find her in my 1941 city directory and 1946 Los Angeles phone book. The 1940-1997 California death records list 16 women named Christine Collins. A search in the Social Security Death Index produces 60 women by that name.