The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

Hollywood severed head: Dog walker recounts grim discovery

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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Two unidentified women hike in Griffith Park near the Hollywood sign after a plastic bag containing a human head was discovered Tuesday by two women walking their dogs on a nearby trail off Canyon Drive. Jason Redmond/AP

The case of the mysterious head found in the Hollywood Hills took several more bizarre turns yesterday, including when a cadaver dog named Indiana Bones found a severed hand in nearby brush. Lauren Kornberg, the dog walker who discovered the decapitated head, said that "the original search and rescue dog" was her client's golden retriever.

Kornberg grew up around the Hollywood Hills, and was leading her mother and a pack of nine dogs off trail when the golden retriever strayed to a nearby bush. "He was going crazy," she said. "He was digging, digging, digging, barking."

That dog had a tendency to hunt and in previous walks had returned with a dead rat or bird secured between his teeth. This time, his find was hard to recognize. "He had shredded the bag and had something in his mouth, which he dropped. And it rolled 30 feet down a hill and into a ravine," Kornberg recalled.

After joking that it looked like a skull, Kornberg had convinced herself it was a realistic Hollywood prop and was ready to continue hiking. Kornberg's mother decided they should investigate.

"Even as we got closer, we still couldn't say for sure whether it was ... real, until my mom was literally about a foot away, face to face, and could see bloody hair and eyeballs and eyelashes and gasped and said 'It's real, oh my god, it's real,'" Kornberg said.

According to Kornberg, myths about dead bodies being dumped in the Hollywood Hills are not uncommon: "My whole life I've heard those tales, and people go 'Oh, aren't you scared, hiking up there? There could be bodies up there.'"

Kornberg said the she'll probably stay away from Bronson Canyon for awhile, especially after the story escalated and media began camping out on her lawn on Wednesday, which was also her birthday. Still, Kornberg hopes to muster up the courage to return soon.

"That's actually kind of the thing that makes me the saddest," she said. "Sometimes I have trails where I don't see a single person and I'm blissed out and it's just going to be so hard to get that picture and that image out of my head."


Lauren Kornberg, the dog walker who discovered the severed head in Bronson Canyon.

With contributions from Andrea Wang

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