Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 30


Oct. 21, 1944: Fred Atwood, left, Los Angeles Times.


Lulu Atwood, in a photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

In this series of posts on the Georgette Bauerdorf case, we have looked at the history of El Palacio Apartments, crime in West Hollywood, the history of the Hollywood Canteen, Georgette’s movements before the killing, how the killing might have occurred, the killer’s behavior afterward – even what type of car she was driving and the neighborhood where it was abandoned.

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 21Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31

And yet we’re not quite done. One thing that bothers me is the behavior of Fred and Lulu Atwood, who performed cleaning and maintenance work at the apartments. It isn’t that they weren’t helpful, it’s that they were so exceedingly helpful in the Bauerdorf case.


It is Fred Atwood who said:

— He had only spoken once to Georgette.

— He was awakened about midnight by the sound of a woman’s high heels clicking back and forth on the kitchen floor.

— He heard a loud crash of something metallic.

— The next morning, the door to the apartment was open and there was no forced entry.

— That he and his wife, Lulu, had been cleaning in the adjacent apartment and noticed the door half-open so they went into the Bauerdorf apartment about 11:10 a.m.

— That they called to see if anyone was home and when they didn’t get an answer went about their regular cleaning duties.

–That they heard water dripping, so his wife went upstairs to investigate and found Georgette’s body in the bathtub.

–That his wife came running downstairs calling: “There’s a body in the bathtub!”

— That he and his wife went upstairs together and saw Georgette in the bathtub.

–That he shut of the hot water faucet, which was still running or dripping.

— That he pulled the plug, draining the tub.

–That they ran to tell the manager to call the police.



And hHere is what Lulu Atwood said:

— She and her husband were asleep on the night of the killing when they were awakened by a metallic crash.

— “We couldn’t tell what time it was because we do not have a clock in our room, but we are quite sure it was in the early morning hours.”

— That she went into the Bauerdorf apartment the next morning, heard water dripping upstairs and went to investigate.

— “I saw her floating on top of the water. I leaned over and turned off the faucet and then I ran out to get my husband and Mrs. [Thea] Alexander, the manager.”

In Fred Atwood’s version, he was awakened about midnight by the sound of a woman’s high heels in the kitchen.

In Lulu Atwood’s version, they were awakened by a metallic crash, but they didn’t know what time it was because there was no clock in the bedroom.

More important: In Fred Atwood’s version, he and his wife entered the Bauerdorf apartment together.  Lulu Atwood’s version strongly implies that Fred wasn’t there until she ran and got him.

Here’s another thing that’s troubling:

Consider the statement of actress Stella Adler, who lived in the apartment next to Bauerdorf unit.


Oct. 14, 1944: Adler, who occupied “the apartment directly opposite that of the Bauerdorfs, said she “didn’t hear a thing all night,” Los Angeles Examiner.


We don’t know where the Atwoods lived in relation to Georgette’s apartment. But recall that the original advertising said the building offered soundproof walls and floors. It would also be interesting to know the location of the unidentified neighbor who heard Georgette screaming.

As I have said before, without visiting the crime scene, it’s impossible to be sure about certain aspects of the case. And perhaps I’m being overly suspicious. But I would like to hear the Atwoods’ accounts first-hand.

To be continued.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1944, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Hollywood, Homicide and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 30

  1. Steven Bibb says:

    Very small world. My mother studied acting with Stella Adler, who later became a very famous acting teacher here in New York.


  2. I wonder if Fred just wanted to make it sound like he was more protective of his wife than maybe he really was. Maybe people bugged him later about letting his wife go upstairs alone.


  3. CassellCan says:

    What doesn’t make sense to me is the water in the bathtub. I can understand a remorseful killer wanting to wash his young victim’s bloody body (even long before the fear of DNA and trace evidence testing). Maybe he thought hot water would loosen her jar to allow him to remove the cloth?

    But HOT water was found in the tub? Still HOT? Still RUNNING when the Atwoods say they arrived to find Georgette’s body? Murder by about 3 am, automobile abandoned by 7:30 am, but the water in the tub is HOT and the tub has not yet overflowed into a massive flood swamping the apartment’s lower level by 11:10 am?

    The Attwoods reportedly told the police they pulled the stopper and let the bloody hot water drain out. Were they telling the truth? Did anyone else — police, neighbor, owner — see or feel the hot bloody water or feel the hot room temperature so late that morning?

    Very suspicious!


  4. Jon Ponder says:

    The Atwoods lived in a basement apartment directly below Georgette.


    • AND says:

      I was just coming here to say that Jon. I hadn’t read that they lived in the basement but assumed that they had. It sounds like there was an underground parking garage and that seems like where they may have a unit since they were the custodians of the property. It explains why they were able to hear her heels on the floor and the crash. The apartment was soundproof, but not from the bottom.


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