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Woman linked to mummified remains

Police in the US have linked a Scottish woman with a trunk in which the mummified remains of a baby and a foetus were found.

Investigators said on Thursday the trunk belonged to Janet M Barrie, who emigrated to the US from Scotland in the mid-1920s.

She was the home nurse for a Los Angeles dentist and died in 1992, leaving behind a trunk filled with her belongings and the bodies of two infants wrapped in newspapers.

The trunk was found on August 17 in the basement of an apartment building.

Authorities have not determined a cause of death of the babies, one of which was newborn and the other a foetus of about 20 weeks. Investigators tracked down relatives of Ms Barrie in Canada and are awaiting DNA tests.

Confirming Ms Barrie's identity will help investigators as they try to solve the puzzle of the abandoned remains found wrapped in sheets and nestled in doctor bags amid scrunched up copies of 1930s newspapers.

The coroner's office has been unable to determine how the babies died and it may never be known why they were placed in the trunk or who put them there.

The abandoned trunk was found in Los Angeles by two women clearing out an apartment building basement that was filled with items that accumulated during years of renovations. The trunk was like a time capsule from the 1930s, containing a pearl necklace, an iron with a thick electric cord, girdle, figurine, books, photos, documents and a cigar box painted with depictions of saints.

The women found the babies when they looked into the doctors' bags. It is not known if they had been born alive or had been miscarried or aborted.

One of them, a girl, was about the age of a newborn and extremely well preserved. She had thick brown hair and her arms lay by her sides while her legs were folded up to her chest, the law enforcement official said. The other baby was much smaller and in worse condition, and could have been a foetus or born prematurely. There were no signs of trauma to the babies.

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