"Peter Pan" Cold Case "Especially Tough"

CAROUSEL - Angry flood survivors gather to block a highway demanding food, shelter and water in Sukkar, Pakistan, Aug. 16, 2010. AP Photo

A leading criminologist calls the mystery surrounding a chilling discovery in a basement storeroom of an old Los Angeles apartment building "especially tough" on the emotions.

The mummified remains of two infants were found wrapped in newspapers from the 1930s when a trunk was pried open.

The discovery, reports CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone, has residents and police pondering a possible connection to the author of the "Peter Pan" children's books.

"It's a little creepy," one resident remarked to CBS News.

The resident who made the discovery, Yaming Xing, told CBS News she felt as if she was "disturbing the spirit."

The trunk, says Blackstone, also held a membership to a Peter Pan club, in the name of Miss Jean M. Barrie, a name strikingly similar to James M. Barrie, the Scottish author of "Peter Pan," the boy who wouldn't grow up..

Was Jean Barrie a close relative?

That, says Dr. Lawrence Koblinsky, a professor of criminal justice and biochemistry at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, is only one of the many forensic challenges facing investigators.

Koblinsky told "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Chris Wragge it should be possible to get DNA from the skeletal remains, but DNA that would "only give you information about maternal relatives. So, as long as you can find a descendent of the mother of these children, you can do the match and determine identity."

Koblinsky added that figuring out how they died will also be difficult, since the "two skeletons seem to be of different ages, different sizes. And so, they may have died at different times, and it's not really clear that we will determine the cause. If one is an abortion, it could have been a criminal abortion, it could have been a natural abortion. There may be no criminality here. It's not clear."

But the trunk, says Koblinsky, had "lots of clues. We have the initials JMB, we have documents in the trunk (from which) we may be able to determine the mother -- was she related to Mr. Barrie? Was she working in the area? There are a lot of clues there that we have to put together with the science. It'll come together."

Koblinsky observed that, "It's a cold case and, you know, DNA nowadays can solve cold cases. This is an especially tough one, you know: You're dealing with babies. It's an emotional thing. You want to know how they got there, are they related to each other -- lots more questions than answers, unfortunately."
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