Police first suspected foul play when the body of a Glendale advertising salesman washed up at Newport Beach in 1933, but soon uncovered a bizarre suicide pact that led back to baby girl found abandoned in a Los Angeles movie theater months earlier.
The body of 41-year-old J.R. Bodin was found at Newport Beach in April 1933, after he went missing from the steamship Yale en route from San Diego to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported April 10, 1933. His female companion who boarded the ship with him, Barbara Muller, 22, of Hollywood, had also disappeared from the couple’s stateroom aboard the ship.
Investigators found a suicide note in the room indicating the couple had made a suicide pact and jumped into the ocean, but bruises were found on Bodin’s forehead. An autopsy conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Tock at a Costa Mesa mortuary indicated Bodin had died not from drowning, but from a blow to the head.