Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LA Times-Remains of Two Infants Found In 70-Year-Old Steamer Trunks

Gloria Gomez &Yiming Xing found the remains of the infants in the 70 year old steamer trunk: Irfan Khan/LA Times
(Story reported by Kate Linthicum and Andrew Blankstein for the LA Times)

The two women who found the remains of two infants in a MacArthur Park apartment building said they were so scared after opening the first bundle inside an old steamer trunk that they called police before opening the second.

Building manager Gloria Gomez and tenant Yiming Xing were checking out the contents of three trunks in the storage room, which used to be a ballroom, in the basement of the elegant 1923 structure Tuesday in the 800 block of Lake Street.

The trunks had been given to Gomez by the building's owner after no one claimed them. Gomez and Xing said they opened the first two trunks, but they were empty. The third was locked and after a considerable struggle were finally able to break the lock with a screwdriver.

"We got all excited because the first thing we found was a crystal dish,” Gomez said.

They also found clothing, aged photographs, old postcards and books. Both Gomez and Xing thought the items may have belonged to a very wealthy woman. On some of the documents was the name Jean M. Barrie.

At the bottom of the trunk were two black leather satchels that looked like doctor's bags. Gomez opened one and found a small parcel wrapped in newspaper, which she handed to Xing to open.

Xing took off the pages of a 1935 Los Angeles Times and found a white sheet, which she unwrapped.

“I saw something not very pleasant and very unusual,” she said. “It didn’t have any shape to it. But it seemed like a dried-out body.”
“The first thing I thought was the spirits," she added. "Maybe we disturbed the spirits.”

Xing, 35, a geneticist at USC, said she thought it may have been the remains of a miscarried baby.

“She said, 'Can we bury it?,'" Gomez said. "And I said, ‘No, we call the police.'”

Scared to open the second bundle, they called the police. When LAPD officers arrived, they opened the second satchel and made a similar discovery. The skeletal remains inside the second bundle were larger than the first and wrapped in the pages of a 1932 Los Angeles Times.

(click here to read the full story on the LA Times website)

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