Oct. 15, 1944: A handout photo of Georgette Bauerdorf, Oakland Tribune.
We have been examining the behavior of Georgette Bauerdorf’s killer to see if we could distill something about him, going from least speculative to most speculative rather than chronological order. Previous posts have looked at signs of his “undoing” the crime after the killing; the actual murder; and his actions after leaving the crime scene, in which he dumped the Bauerdorf car about 10 miles away.
Now we come to the most speculative part of the inquiry: How Georgette and the killer met.
Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31
At the time Georgette was assaulted and killed, she was in her bedroom, wearing the top of her pajamas and either in bed for the night or at least lying on the bed with the blanket pulled down.
Oct. 14, 1944: All is known is that she stopped somewhere on the way home and ate a substantial dinner, including meat and string beans, about an hour and a half before she died, Daily News.
Oct. 14, 1944: (Building manager Thea Alexander) expressed a belief that the disordered bed had been slept in before Miss Bauerdorf had been killed.
Oct. 20, 1944: The sheets of her bed were not disturbed. The blanket had been pulled back and there was an indentation in the pillow. A daily newspaper was folded neatly by the pillow. United Press, via the Bakersfield Californian.
In any event, Georgette’s attire at the time of her death strongly suggests that she did not answer the door to admit a man who then attacked and killed her.
There are two other possibilities: The killer entered the apartment either with a key or in some way that was undetected by investigators, sneaked up the stairs and attacked Georgette. Or she admitted him earlier in the night and was preparing to go to sleep when he attacked her.
Given these possibilities, and Georgette’s habit of befriending servicemen, it seems most likely that she “stopped somewhere on the way home and ate a substantial meal,” as reported in the Daily News. This is highly speculative, but Georgette was known to buy meals for servicemen and it’s possible that wherever she stopped to eat, she met a serviceman who was passing through Los Angeles and picked up the tab.
Based on the way the night unfolded, I’m going to suggest that Georgette, at 20, was too young to be served alcohol, but that our mystery serviceman had been drinking.
Again, this is highly speculative, but I’m going to suggest that after this “substantial meal,” Georgette brought the serviceman back to the apartment, as she had done before.
Georgette was 20 and I’m going to assume that she was somewhat naive and sheltered. Based on what has been written about her, she was apparently acting out of a genuine and sincere attempt to help the war effort, rather than making a lot of random hookups with strangers.
It’s entirely possible that our mystery serviceman was an ordinary fellow and not a sexual predator. From the number of crime stories I have read, I think it’s safe to say that an experienced sexual predator would have been more adept, gaining control of his victim quickly and skillfully, having learned how to avoid a big fight.
However, I’m going to suggest that under these circumstances — and if he had been drinking significantly – our fellow might have misinterpreted Georgette’s behavior and assumed that sex was going to be part of the evening. Although investigators reportedly found no evidence of a “drinking party,” it’s possible that there was liquor in the apartment. Regardless of whether Georgette had anything to drink, it’s quite possible that the serviceman was invited to have a drink or helped himself to some liquor. Possibly this would explain reports of footsteps in the kitchen and a loud, metallic crash.
We will never know what happened, but one scenario could be that all was well; Georgette had at least prepared for bed, assuming that the visiting serviceman was comfortable on the couch, when he came upstairs to use the bathroom and looked into the adjacent bedroom. Seeing her on the bed and mostly undressed, our somewhat intoxicated serviceman went into attack mode, fought with Georgette, eventually got control of her and raped her on the bedroom rug, which was stained with heavy vaginal bleeding, either from her period, the trauma of being raped or both.
I’m going to also suggest that during his struggle with Georgette, the serviceman found the mystery piece of fabric, which she may have been using as some sort of improvised sanitary pad, and used it to stifle her screams, and in the struggle, rammed it down her throat.
Again, this is all highly speculative, but perhaps once Georgette was dead and the serviceman began to cool off emotionally, sobered up and realized what he had done, he went through his various actions of “undoing”: Sitting with the body for a long time and smoking cigarettes, trying to remove the gag from her mouth after rigor mortis had set in, putting her in the bathtub and running the hot water, trying to clean up the bloodstain on the rug.
Keep in mind, also, that the serviceman was mostly likely scratched or bruised from fighting with Georgette and quite possibly had blood on his clothing or his person.
He took some money from her purse and the keys and left the apartment with the door open, abandoning the car after running out of gas. And from there, we can only guess where went.
Let me emphasize once again that all of this is highly speculative, but it is one possible scenario.
To be continued.
I think your scenario makes sense. The fact that he waited for daylight can be explained by the blackout regulations, which prohibited driving with lights on, and Oct 14, 1944 was a nearly moonless night. So it would have been pretty dark for somebody unfamiliar with the city (assuming a GI from elsewhere) to try and find his way out of there. (As an aside, minor traffic accidents during blackout periods evidently were pretty common, so if she drove a lot at night from the Canteen that would account for the scrapes and dings on the car.)
This means he could have been sober throughout, and sat and smoked waiting for the sun to come up with her body upstairs. Pretty chilling 😦
Good point about the blackout. And Larry’s scenario, in which Georgette drove the unknown man back to her place, explains how he knew where to get her car and keys.
I will just add that if Georgette WAS hooking up with the occasional serviceman, “so what?” When you’re young and cute and full of beans, these things happen–though, as can be seen, it CAN be a dangerous choice. Goodness knows when I was young and cute and full of beans–back during the McKinley administration–I did some naughty things that I look back on and think “good thing HE didn’t turn out to be Ted Bundy.”
There are too many possibilities, including the idea that the killer had a key and may have entered the apartment earlier (while Georgette was at the Canteen) through the rear kitchen door, left the interior lights off, turned off the front porch light, slipped out the front door and unscrewed the front porch light bulb. This way, he would not be seen entering her apartment through the front door, but when he exited through the front door, it was dark. If you are uncertain about the kitchen door, drive over to the apartment building. It’s not that far from your office.
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