Thursday, January 03, 2008

Skeletons Under the Bed

by Joyce Tremel

The other day this article caught my eye: Infant's bones found in dead woman's suitcase.

The adult children of a deceased 80 year old woman found an old suitcase under the woman's bed. When they opened it up, they found the skeleton of an infant wrapped up in some clothing. They had no idea of who the child might be, or where he/she came from. They called the police.

According to Dr. Cyril Wecht, who performed the autopsy, the bones were most likely placed there 50 or so years ago. He couldn't determine a cause of death, but it appeared there was no trauma to the bones. From his description, it seemed they were placed there almost lovingly, arms folded and in a fetal position.

Wouldn't you love to know the story behind this? Right away, my writer's mind went to work. Who was this woman? What happened to the child? Was he/she killed? Stillborn? Died of natural causes?

Let's try something different here today. I want everyone to imagine who this woman was and try to build our own little plot (like we did at Vicky Thompson's workshop). Who wants to go first?

11 comments:

Tory said...

A woman hiding a pregnancy from her abusive husband?

I'm afraid that's all I can think of this morning, the brain isn't working yet!

Martha Reed said...

First things first, we need a twist.

One of the adult daughters had the baby out of wedlock when she was 15, and together they hid her pregnancy, killed the baby, and then Mom hid the body in the suitcase, telling the daughter she 'took care of it'. Imagine the adult daughter's shock - and subsequent confession.

Ouch. That's a lot of plotting for 7:16 AM. Too hackneyed?

Lee Lofland said...

I had a case similar to this one back in the early 80s. A teenage girl delivered a baby in her room and tried to conceal it by placing the child in a lard tin which she hid under her bed. Her mother discovered it one day while cleaning the girl's room. The smell drew her attention to the tin. She claimed she never knew the very obese teen had been pregnant.

Now, for Joyce's story idea:

Suppose the woman's husband had an affair and had a child with his mistress. Then, the psycho-religious wife found out and killed the mistress and the child, but kept the body of the child as a reminder to the husband of his sins.

Brenda said...

What if someone gave the old woman the suitcase and told her it contained something secret and valuable and asked her to keep it safe? What if she never knew what was actually in it?

Brenda said...

BTW -this is fun Joyce. Good idea.

Nancy said...

Martha's right---we need a BIG twist.

And trouble is, a twist doesn't work unless it affects the story moving forward. So, where is this story going? Who will be affected by the discovery? Who's the protagonist? What does s/he want?

Nancy

Joyce said...

The protagonist is one of the daughters who found the suitcase. This daughter always thought that she was the oldest--now it appears she had an older sibling.

She always wondered why her parents kept the door to their bedroom locked at all times.

What does she want? To find out what else her mother was hiding. Was her whole life a lie? Was her mother a murderer?

Okay. Now we need a big twist. Maybe the baby's DNA doesn't match and it wasn't related to family at all?

Nancy said...

I think Mom was a midwife. Or maybe a baby broker. And Protagonist/Saughter has fertility issues---or she's in the midst of adopting from a shady lawyer, who knew Mom.

Nancy said...

Daughter. Not Saughter. Sorry!

Joyce said...

Come on, guys! We can do better than this! Where are all my plotters???

Joyce said...

There was a new article about this case in today's P-G:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08004/846585-52.stm