Christine Collins mystery solved

From the mailbag:

Mr Girardot,

Just wanted to let you know that the fate of Christine Collins has been solved.  Collins is listed in the death index under Christin Collins.  This linked her name to a Kathleen Collins in the social security death index.  Collins indicated that this was an alias she used after the high profile trial.  The time period fits and I’m fairly certain it is her.  Collins died on 12/8/1964.  There is also an interesting back story.  At one point in time, she was staying with James C. Borton in 1930.  Borton took in Collins because he and her father were members of the Knights of Pythias.  She also spent sometime in Oakland Californa in the early 1930’s, with friends they met when the family was in Hawaii.  At one point in time she took a telephone number under an assumed name as well. As it turns out, her sister, at  one point in time, was listed on a passenger manifest as visiting Hong Kong in 1930, in the midst of the events involving her son.  She is listed under race as Octoroon.  Even in my work as an Archivist, I have never come acrossed that term.  It’s a guess, but I believe that Aimee Dunne was of Chinese Origin, which I also thought was an interesting note. 
I’m planning on taking the research further and write a book.  I’ve spent too much time learning about this family, so I need to justify it somehow!


Chris Garmire
California State Archives

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The fate of Christine Collins


I’ve had several emails this weekend asking about the fate of Christine Collins’ the real life woman played by Angelina Jolie in Clint Eastwood’s “The Changeling.”

Perhaps the best answer is on Roxanne Adam’s blog, “Dispatch from the Third World of Los Angeles.” Adams came across some records that indicate a Christine M. Collins died in 1996 in a tiny East Bay community. Here’s a portion of the entry:

One Christine M. Collins, born on April 24th 1900, died in 1996 in Lafeyette, a city located in Contra Costa County, California; this is the only official public record I could find. Since her son was nine years old when he disappeared in 1928, it’s entirely reasonable that she was born in 1901.

And the photo caption:

Walter Collins’ mother, Mrs. Christine Collins, who confronted Gordon Northcott in jail concerning her son. “I did not kill Walter,” he told her. “I believe you,” she replied. Later, when Arthur Hutchens claimed to be her son and she did not accept him, she was sent to a psychopathic ward. She later filed suit against the police for this action.

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Morning fish wrap

ALHAMBRA — Two women in Alhambra were robbed Tuesday night within an hour of one another while walking down the street, according to police.
ALHAMBRADetectives have not been able to interview the victim of a recent shooting but hope to question her tomorrow, authorities said.

PASADENA — What happened to the most electrifying man in Pasadena?

SACRAMENTO — Lawmakers headed back to Sacramento to deal with budget shortfall.

SAN PEDRO –Divers searching the ocean floor Tuesday discovered what they believe is the boat owned bythe brother of U.S. Reps. Linda and Loretta Sanchez.

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Found bones linked to missing man

A set of human remains found near the Pomona Freeway in Montebello may have been there for eight years, officials told reporter Ruby Gonzales.

The remains of a human male skeleton also show signs of having been struck by a car, coroner’s officials said. Here’s Ruby’s update from this morning:

MONTEBELLO – The man whose bones were discovered alongside the Pomona (60) Freeway could have been hit by a car, coroner’s officials said.

The left femur shows a fracture consistent with being struck by a vehicle, according to Lt. Fred Corral of the Coroner’s Office.

Corral said an ID card was found among the clothing which belonged to a man who was reported missing eight years ago. However, he said they are still trying to identify the remains.

Caltrans workers clearing heavy brush in the 200 block of Pomona Boulevard discovered the skeletal remains on Sunday morning.

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Coroner: mysterious death was suicide

EL MONTE — Coroner’s officials said Tuesday that a man found dead outside an office building Sunday committed suicide.
Jerry Huang, 39, was pronounced dead at the scene from “multiple traumatic injuries,” Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. John Kades said.
Huang’s city of residency was not known, he said.
Homicide detectives responded to investigate the death after a security guard discovered the body about 1:15 p.m. in the 9600 block of Flair Drive.

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Body found in car with parking ticket on window*

This story from Pico Rivera comes via the wire services. I’ll post an update later:

The L-A County coroner’s office plans perform an autopsy on the body of a man
who was found in the driver’s seat of a parked car in an un-incorporated area
near Pico Rivera. The body was discovered at Rooks Road and Peck
Roads last night. A parking citation had been left on the car.

*Here’s what KCBS/KCAL is reporting:

Employees at a nearby truck repair shop said the car — a 1980s four-door Lincoln — had been parked there all day, and, at some point, someone placed a parking ticket on the vehicle’s door.

A worker said firefighters who responded couldn’t believe that someone had issued the citation without noticing the deceased man.


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Body found in wash remains unidentified

AZUSA — A decomposed body found floating in the Little Dalton Wash over the weekend remained unidentified Thursday, officials said.
Officials have determined the body, found about 7 p.m. Sunday, is that of a man estimated to be 30-40 years old, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The body was first spotted by a passerby, police said.
A cause of death was not determined, Winter said.
Coroner’s officials are continuing to work to identify the body, currently listed as John Doe 142, he said.

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Son suspected in death of dad

If it’s true it’s called patricide.

Here’s what we know:

WHITTIER – A father collapsed and died Thursday after a fight with his son, and the son has been arrested on suspicion of murder as officials investigate what caused the death, authorities said.

The dead man was preliminarily identified as Joe Anthony Valverde, 56, of Whittier, said Los Angeles County Department Investigator Betsy Magdaleno.

His son, 34-year-old Isaac Gutierrez of Whittier, is being held in connection with the death, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said, however district attorney’s officials will review the case and the coroner’s findings to determine whether murder charges will ultimately be filed.

The rest of the story is here.

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“Apparently…were absolutely unrelated”

Here’s an AP version of a pretty grim tale from the streets of East Los Angeles:


LOS ANGELES  — Two dead men at two shooting scenes, separated by less than a mile, and killed about 20 minutes apart.

Monday’s double homicides “apparently…were absolutely unrelated,” said Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.

But some residents of the neighborhood in East Los Angeles aren’t so sure.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” Martha Montes, 43, said as she waited behind the crime tape where two men were found dead in the street. “I can’t believe this is not connected. Two shootings like this, only blocks away?”

The first shooting occurred around 1:20 p.m. at a used car dealership, where two men were found dead in the garage area, said Lt. Dave Coleman.

The owner of Jesse’s Auto Sales on East Olympic Boulevard reported that two cars were missing from the lot, and detectives think the gunmen stole those vehicles, Coleman said.

The victims’ identities were not immediately released.

“I can’t believe there are two here and two down there,” said Cynthia Szukala said as she stood near the dealership.

The second shooting occurred about 20 minutes later less than a mile away.

Sheriff’s deputies found two male victims in the street on South Herbert Avenue but weren’t sure of the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

No arrests were reported Monday in either case.

From KNBC:

All of the victims are Latino men, according to sheriff’s deputies.

The suspects at the Olympic Avenue address — Jesse’s Auto Sales — took two vehicles.

One was a gray four-door 2000 Jeep Cherokee with the license plate 4LVE195, and the other was a four-door 2001 Dodge with the license 7Z41469.

Assistant Coroner Chief Ed Winter said that according to reports from the scene, the shooting at the home was gang-related, while the other was a carjacking.

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Sheriff’s deputies and state parole agents waited outside a La Puente home for eight hours Thursday before busting in with tear gas and discovering their wanted man had escaped.

When officers on scene were asked who they were looking for, none knew exactly …. hmmmm

That said, today we have a name and a picture. You are looking at La Puente resident Jesus Ramiro Talamantes, DOB 2/15/72.

He’s on the lam.

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