Dead infants from 1930s found in basement – UPDATED

1937 issue of newspaper wrapped around crockery next to the bodies

Officials plan to perform autopsies on the remains of two babies found wrapped in newspapers from the 1930s and stuffed in a trunk in an L.A. basement.

The L.A. County coroner’s office and Los Angeles Police Department are trying to figure out how the babies died and how they got to the basement. The autopsies will involve a pathologist and an anthropologist. Investigators also will try to use DNA testing to determine whether the babies are related and toxicology tests to find out why they died.

Officials with knowledge of the case said one of the babies appeared to be premature — and might have been miscarried or aborted. The other baby appeared to be a newborn…

The trunk appears to have belonged to a woman named Jean M. Barrie. Inside it were postcards sent to her from far-flung locales such as Korea and South America and a pile of black-and-white photographs that showed a beautiful, fair-haired woman — who may have been Barrie — on vacation and in a wedding gown…

Records show a Jean Barrie who worked as a nurse and lived about three miles from the Glen-Donald apartment building, which is at the corner of South Lake Street and what is now James M. Wood Boulevard, in 1933.

Authorities said they were classifying the discovery as a “death investigation.” They stressed that it was too early to tell if this was a homicide case but vowed to find out what had happened to the babies.

Gonna be a hell of a movie. And forensic anthropology is fascinating – anytime.

UPDATE: Turns out Ms. Barrie emigrated from Scotland in the 1920’s – first, to Canada; then, down to the USA. Worked as a home nurse for the invalid wife of an LA dentist – who she married a little while after his wife died. Read on.

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