Aug. 29, 1947: Headless Skeleton Found in Burlap Sack in Chantry Flats

L.A. Times, 1947, Skeleton Found Above Sierra Madre

Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

The discovery by camper John Beener of 3743 E. 7th St. only became more puzzling. Investigation revealed that the deceased, an elderly woman about 5-foot-2, had been embalmed, excluding the possibility of murder. Medical examiners also ruled out the possibility that the remains were a cadaver used for anatomy classes.

“This left the possibility the body … might have been dumped at the campground by a ghoul. This possibility was being investigated by checking cemeteries in this area,” The Times said.

Boy Scouts unsuccessfully searched the area for the skull and other missing parts of the body. No further stories appeared, so the unfortunate victim apparently remained unidentified. But this incident was far from the only time human remains were found in the area:

–1929, boys find the body of Pasadena artist H.J.O. Pohl next to a bottle labeled “strychnine.”

–1954, a hiker finds bones off Santa Anita Canyon Road near Chantry Flats.

–1956, Boy Scouts find bones of a man who was apparently digging in a hillside when it collapsed.

–1971, cabin owner Paul Sharp finds a skeleton under a wrecked 1967 Volkswagen registered to Milton Honowitz that apparently plunged into the canyon from Chantry Flats Road. Honowitz, of Pasadena, had been missing for about seven months.

–1979, a state forestry employee finds remains identified as 12-year-old Robin Christine Samsoe of Huntington Beach. Rodney James Alcala, a former Times composing room employee, was sentenced to the gas chamber in 1980 in the killing, but his conviction was overturned twice. His third trial in the murder is to begin in October.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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