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News Release

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Media Relations

Discovery of Mummified Fetuses NR10413mg


The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has determined that the two mummified babies found on August 17, 2010, were the biological children of Janet M. Barrie.  Investigators used Familial DNA to make the determination after Barrie’s niece was found living in Canada and was able to provide a genetic sample.

The cause of death has not, and will likely not, be determined, but there were no obvious signs of trauma, and toxicology reports were inconclusive. Coroner’s investigators believe the two babies were brother and sister.  One was a fetus, while the other appeared to be a full term baby.

The entire story will probably never be known.

Los Angeles:
  Los Angeles Police Department is called to a 1920’s era building in the city’s Rampart area to investigate a report of mummified fetuses found in an old steamer trunk.

On August 17, 2010, two women cleaning out a large room in a multi unit apartment building that was being used for storage discovered the remains of two mummified infants.  The women had been hired by the building’s owner to clear out a portion of the building that had been abandoned and neglected for many years.  Toward the end of that clean out process, the women found several antique luggage trunks.  Inside one of the trunks, they found what appeared to be two Doctor’s bags. Inside one, wrapped in the pages of a 1930’s era LA Times newspaper, was a mummified fetus.  Inside the other, also wrapped in a 1930’s era LA Times newspaper was another fetus.  The women contacted the LAPD to report what they had discovered and officers immediately responded.

LAPD’s Juvenile Division along with the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office has assumed investigative responsibility of the case.  A formal death investigation has been opened on both individual fetuses.  Investigative avenues will include attempts to identify the history of the property, possible genetic links between the fetuses, the origin of the fetuses, as well as the identity of the parent.  Juvenile Division will continue to partner directly with the Coroner’s Office.  Further information will be available when significant findings are made that do not interfere with the investigation.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact LAPD Juvenile Division Detectives at 1-877-LAPD-24-7.   Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.