Remains of Girl in Forgotten Casket was Daughter of Prominent San Francisco Family

5/10/2017 - Professor of Anthropology Jelmer Eerkens in the LA Times.

Her remarkably well-preserved body was discovered a year ago in an unmarked metal casket in a wealthy San Francisco neighborhood.

She was barely 3 when she died and was interred in a long-forgotten cemetery more than a century ago. When workers discovered her elaborate coffin beneath a concrete slab, there were no markings or gravestone to say who she was. 

Over the last year, as the casket rested in a new grave in Colma, a team of scientists, amateur sleuths and history buffs worked tirelessly to solve the central question in this Bay Area mystery: Who was the little girl in the casket?

This week, they announced their answer: She was Edith Howard Cook.

The daughter of Horatio Nelson Cook and Edith Scooffy Cook, she died of marasmus — a form of severe undernourishment — on Oct. 13, 1876, said Jelmer Eerkens, an archaeologist at UC Davis who analyzed Edith’s hair.

Read the full story in the LA Times.

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