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Emmon Bodfish - A real transgender murder





Here's this week's article from the Bay Area Reporter.  Thanks to Ed Walsh for
the professional but sensitive reporting he is doing on the case!  (I wonder if
the friends had met the son and have any opinion on his possible involvement.)
Hermit
                       Bodfish likely struggled with killer, report says
                                           by Ed Walsh
         Transgendered murder victim Emmon Bodfish was known for doing
everything he could to be unknown and there was perhaps no greater symbol of
his reclusivity than his home on his seven acre estate in Orinda. Meanwhile,
Bodfish's coroner's report indicates he may have struggled with his killer.
         Last Thursday, August 19, this reporter was allowed to accompany three
of Bodfish's close friends along with his lawyer and executor Garrett Riegg, as
they returned to that home along Miner Road, an area known for some of the
highest priced real estate in the East Bay. The Bodfish home is just a
25-minute drive from San Francisco but the property is so wooded and isolated,
one could easily get the feeling that they are hundreds of miles away from
anything resembling a major city.
         Although Riegg estimates the property to be worth about $2 million,
the house itself is extremely modest and looks more like a cabin in the middle
of the Sierra than a home in an exclusive Bay Area bedroom community. It's just
two bedrooms, one bath, with a smaller cabin on a hill overlooking the home.
The house has a very rustic feel and Bodfish's friends say that was in keeping
with his nature-based Druid faith.
         One of Bodfish's close friends who knew him for more than two decades,
before Margaret became Emmon, said she appreciated the Bay Area Reporter's
sensitivity in its coverage of the case but didn't want to be quoted on the
record. She said she felt very conflicted about discussing her friend's life
because privacy was extremely important to him. When asked if Bodfish would
have preferred to be known as a man or woman, she said Bodfish presented
himself to most of the world as a man but his female identity was something he
chose to keep.
         Another friend, Stacey Weinberger, who has spoken with the B.A.R.
before, said she also felt conflicted about speaking to the media but thought
it was important for people to know that Bodfish wasn't a freak, but a very
good, honest, and caring person.
         A third friend, Doug Handler, also spoke with great affection about
Emmon Bodfish. The friends were allowed to claim a few sentimental items that
had special meaning for them. Handler, who also knew Bodfish before Bodfish
began living as a man, took a tiny photo of Margaret Bodfish as a child. He was
also allowed to keep a plumbing book with a photo of an adult Margaret Bodfish
demonstrating a plumbing job. Before Bodfish worked as an investment advisor,
he ran his own pool maintenance and plumbing business. An old and partially
burned blue truck bearing his company name, "The Blue Lagoon," continues to
stand watch in front of his home.
         Skull, facial bone fractures
         Bodfish died in the solitude of that home that he cherished so much
during his life. Now, almost two months after his bludgeoning death, much of
his home still remains how he left it but much has changed. Bodfish's body was
found on the floor in the living room next to a bookcase. Now, many of the
books that became bloodstained are packed away in plastic bags. A square patch
of carpet is cut away from the Oriental rug where his head lay.
         The B.A.R. obtained a copy of Bodfish's coroner's report which appears
to indicate a struggle he had with his attacker. The official cause of death is
listed as "blunt-force head injuries." The report details fractures to his
skull and facial bones and cuts to the forehead and upper lip. Bruises were
found on his chin, legs, shoulder, and back. "A decorative screen with a glass
front was standing to the right of the body," the report details. "The glass
was broken and there was evidence of blood splatter on this item. The head was
laying near one wall which was totally made up of book shelves."
         The highest bloodstain on the book shelves observed by this reporter
was only about three feet off the floor. The bloodstained books that were
removed came from the lower shelves of the book case. The blood splatter
evidence seems to indicate that Bodfish was struck once or several times while
he was already down and lying next to the bookshelf. Forensic experts say that
the first blow to the head is unlikely to cause blood to splatter. Bodfish may
have been taken down by the first or second hit and then beaten to death while
he was lying helplessly on the floor.
         The report goes into graphic detail over the extent of decomposition
of the body with the opinion being that "the decedent had been dead for several
days." Bodfish's body was found by his ex-mother-in-law, Edith Willes, on June
30 at about 9 a.m. At about 6 p.m. that same day in a phone conversation,
Willes told her grandson, Max Wills, that his mother was dead. Hours later,
Wills checked into a Santa Monica hotel room where he killed himself.
         Orinda police say they don't consider Wills a suspect in Bodfish's
death nor can they rule him out.  Wills had been vacationing in Southern
California when Bodfish was killed but investigators say they can't account for
all his time there. Orinda police Sergeant Mark Hale who told the B.A.R. last
week that investigators are waiting for some potentially important new
information said this week that are still waiting for that information. Hale
wouldn't elaborate on the nature of the information they were expecting.
         Bodfish's coroner's report unveils some striking similarities between
his murder and the last homicide in Orinda almost two years ago. That was the
case in which XY magazine cover boy Josh Puckett confessed to killing Vitaly
Poliakov but said he acted in self-defense to fend off a sexual assault. The
cause of death in both the Bodfish and Poliakov murder cases was ruled as blunt
force head injuries. In both cases, the victims appeared to suffer the most
severe hit on the right side of the head. In addition, investigators say blood
splatter evidence had indicated that Poliakov, like Bodfish, likely suffered
the fatal hit while he was already down. Puckett plead guilty to involuntary
manslaughter and burglary last year and was sentenced to 13 years, eight months
in state prison.




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