Oct. 19, 1944: Los Angeles Herald-Express
Before trying to theorize about what might have happened on the night of the killing, let’s sum up everything we know about our victim, Georgette Bauerdorf, and then take a look at what little we know about the killer.
Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder:
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Georgette was a 20-year-old woman from a wealthy family who attended elite private schools. She was in generally good health, but prone to “cramps and heart pains.” After graduating, she had shown some interest in being a reporter and apparently worked at one of the local newspapers – briefly – as a copy messenger, a rather menial position that sometimes led to a reporting job. The circumstances of her employment were never fully described.
At the time of her death, however, Georgette apparently was not working nor pursuing further education. Her sole commitment appears to have been volunteering at the Hollywood Canteen on Wednesday nights. We don’t know how she spent a typical day; all we have is the last day of her life, when she went shopping, visited the beauty parlor and bought an airplane ticket to El Paso to rendezvous with a serviceman she met at the Hollywood Canteen.
Aug. 21, 1943: Picking up hitchhiking servicemen could be dangerous. Rimke was given a life sentence and escaped briefly so that he could contact attorney S.S. Hahn. The sentence was later reduced to 20 years
Georgette lived in an upscale apartment in West Hollywood, a relatively safe part of Los Angeles, as we have seen from the Sheriff’s Department crime statistics.
She had been sharing the apartment with her sister (and her father and stepmother when they were in town), but Georgette had been left alone while the rest of the family went to the East Coast. Her only supervision seems to have been her father’s secretary, Rose Gilbert. There was also her stepmother’s brother, an attorney, who identified her body at the coroner’s office. Otherwise she seemed to have been on her own from August until the time she was killed.
During the months of living by herself, Georgette was extremely generous to servicemen who were in Los Angeles either on leave, in transit or for temporary training. She took them to nightclubs at her expense, gave them money and let them spend the night in the living room of the apartment. She gave apartment keys to several of these men. She also picked up servicemen who were hitchhiking.
Her wealth, social prominence and living circumstances somewhat obscure the fact that Georgette Bauerdorf was a high-risk victim. She engaged in brief encounters with a large number of transitory young men, taking them out on the town, giving them money, allowing men she didn’t know to stay at her apartment and by picking up hitchhikers. Even during the heightened patriotism of World War II, she caused talk gained a reputation among her neighbors for entertaining an unusually large number of servicemen.
The question is whether one of these men raped and killed her. Or was it someone else?
To be continued.