Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guess They Can't Call It Fishwrap Anymore

Los Angeles, CA

South of MacArthur park there is a block of apartment buildings and nursing homes. Some of the buildings date from before the 30's. Some of them have secrets.

The remains of two babies were found while workers were clearing out a basement of one of the apartments in the 800 block of Lake Street. Finding dead babies left in odd places is, sadly, not an unusual thing in L.A.

But it is when they're seventy years old. The corpses were found with a couple of tickets to the 1932 Olympic Games and wrapped in copies of the L.A. Times. So that's what newspapers are for.

The LAPD is bringing in a forensic anthropologist to help with the remains. I hope they have the budget to get her crack team of forensic misfit geniuses and a hard-hitting, square-jawed FBI agent who plays by his own rules.

Seventy years. These are the mysteries that'll haunt you. They might get rumors and hints, or strike it lucky and find out that mom is across the street in a convalescent home.

But chances are they'll never know the whole truth and the bodies will go to the morgue and sit their unclaimed and unnamed before being cremated and dumped into a mass numbered grave along with all the other unclaimed bodies.

Man, I am just a ray of fucking sunshine today, aren't I?


John Hornor said...

Why does murder from a remove of 70 years make it so much more interesting?

I'm reminded of the scene in Raiders where Belloque pontificates on time affecting the value of a watch.

I'm blathering, which is like lathering, but with a b.

Word Verification: dethook

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Part of what I find interesting about it is that it's gone undiscovered for so long. We raze our history to a ridiculous degree out here. The only reason that building's still standing is because nobody's bothered to tear it down, yet.

But then I also find it fascinating when we find bog mummies that have been strangled or had their throats slit. We're animals, we've always been animals. Whether it was 1500 years ago or last week. Our tools for murder might have changed a little, but we haven't.

And then there's the mystery aspect of it. The further away we get from a crime the less likely we'll figure anything out about it. Why'd the bog man get his throat cut? Why'd the babies get wrapped in newspaper and left in a basement?

I doubt we'll ever know and I can't help my imagination filling in the gaps.

Anonymous said...

The tickets to the Olympics are going to be the key.

John Hornor said...

That makes sense. I was being glib. I should've taken it more seriously.

Thing is, stories like this are great fodder for novels because we want to romanticize the motives in order to at least give death some scope, maybe come to grips with death itself by trying to rationalize the hows and whys. Sadly, if you look at police records (and I'm sure you have, and do) you'll see murder is usually so ignominious and humdrum - an argument over the radio goes stabby, a clinically depressed mother drowns her kids and then wraps them in newsprint, a stray bullet perforates a wall and nails a sleeper, unknowing.

It's a tossup if love or murder fascinates humans more. They're both so baffling and at times, both unfathomable. Maybe that's why we tell stories to each other. Either to encapsulate these mysteries, or by entertaining, lessen them and distract from them.

Wow. That last sentence was pretentious.

I'm blathering, again. Which is like lather...okay, you've heard that one before.

Great post. I really enjoy reading about this stuff because it's so far away from my little countrified world.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Serious? Why? I don't.

I wonder sometimes if I'm doing this more as a collection of story fodder than anything else.

I think your point on why we tell stories is spot on. Look at Red Riding Hood, or any teen slasher flick, or any story where Good Wins Over Evil, or the other way around.

Which I think pretty much covers all the bases. It may not be the conscious reason, but I think it forms the framework.

Or, more likely, I'm just talking out of my ass.

John Hornor said...

Well, this article makes me look like (even more of) a total dumbass.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

There was a nurse who lived in the building on and off throughout the 30's named Janet M. Barrie. Cops are checking to see if she was also known as Jean.

The Jean M Barrie related to the Peter Pan author lived on the east coast and in the midwest.

Kerry said...

Our fodder, whose art is in...wait, that's not it.

What *I* want to know is, WHAT SECTION of the Times were the brats wrapped in? I mean, c'mon, it may have all been fit to print, or something, but Sports and News are not the same thing. So...

Anonymous said...

Hey, you are the only that remembers David deltoro the fire captain who murdered that you have an update

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Last I heard there was going to be more pretrial motions back in January. Beyond that I haven't heard anything.