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Detectives Still Piecing Together Clues in Case of Mummified Infants Found in Westlake Basement
The investigation into the death of two infants whose skeletons found in the basement of a Westlake apartment building continues. Today the LAPD held a press conference to announce findings about the owner of the trunk in which the mummified remains were found.
The steamer trunk has been confirmed to have belonged to Janet Mann Barrie, often referred to as "Jean," who was born in Scotland in 1897 and came to the U.S. in the mid-1920s. Authorities were able to track Barrie's identity using letters and photos found in the trunk, as well as official records here and in Scotland.
Ultimately Barrie wed dentist George Guy Knapp in 1964, for whom she served as a homecare nurse tending to his wife, Mary Downs Knapp, since 1941. Knapp died four years after his marriage to Barrie. She is thought to have left Los Angeles for Canada in the 1980s, where she passed away in 1992.
However, the identity of the two infant skeletons, and how they came to be left in the trunk, remain the larger mystery. Coroners have conducted autopsies on the remains, and determined the bodies were full-term infants, and that one was female. The cause of death remains undetermined, as investigators await results of DNA and toxicology tests. Barrie's relatives in Canada have been contacted in an attempt to find out more about her life and, hopefully, the infants.