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The Emmon Bodfish Murder



Police Seek Connection Between Hotel Suicide and Mother's Bludgeoning Death in Northern California


By Anne La Jeunesse
Friday, July 9--A bizarre suicide that took place recently in a Santa Monica motel room and the bludgeoning death of the suicide's affluent mother in Northern California has investigators looking for a connection, police said Thursday.

Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department investigators assisting the police department in the upscale city of Orinda in the Bay Area met with Santa Monica police Thursday in their efforts to solve the murder of 56-year-old Marin County property owner Margaret Bodfish, whose decomposing body was found June 30 inside her home in Orinda, authorities said.

The Northern California investigators sought out Santa Monica police after learning through Los Angeles County Coroner's Department representatives that Bodfish's son, 33-year-old Maxwell Emmons Wills, had slashed himself to death about 1 p.m. July 1 inside Room # 100 of the Travelodge Motel at 1525 Ocean Avenue.

Wills' body was discovered by Santa Monica police officers called to the motel after a maid saw blood seeping out from beneath the motel room door, said Lt. Gary F. Gallinot of the Santa Monica Police Department.

"They wanted to talk to the officers called to the scene, to see if they heard or saw anything that would help," Gallinot said.

Wills' blood-drenched body was found in the bathtub, a razor was in the sink and a bottle of prescription medicine was also recovered from the bathroom, said Los Angeles County Coroner's Department spokesman Scott Carrier.

"There was a large quantity of blood on the bathroom floor -- he had apparently slashed his wrists, both arms and his throat," Carrier said. "He is said to have had a history of severe depression."
Wills' death has been officially ruled a suicide, Carrier said.
A suicide note was found in the motel room, said Orinda Police Chief Dan Lawrence, but the content of that three-page note has not being released.
Lawrence did say, however, that the note does not make any statement that appears to implicate Wills in his mother's death the day before.
Lawrence said that Wills was being sought by investigators after Bodfish's body was found, but not because he was a suspect.
Wills father, who goes by the last name of Willis, reportedly lives in nearby Berkeley.
Lawrence said the case is a puzzle now and it remains unknown if the apparent murder of Bodfish and the suicide of her son are related.
Bodfish's partially decomposing body was found inside her home in the 600 block of Miner in Orinda on June 30, and it has been determined that she died of blunt trauma to the head, said Orinda Police Chief Lawrence.
Lawrence said that investigators are tracking down many leads, including one that Bodfish was, in fact, a man.
"It's not true -- she was a woman," Lawrence said.
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