World | news | Science | Hidden Gems | Vintage

Perfectly Preserved Child Found Buried in 1800s Casket Under Family Home

Last May, workers discovered a tiny, ornate casket with a perfectly preserved toddler entombed inside. The casket had two, small glass windows through which they could see the delicate features of what appeared to be a 2-year-old girl.

The tiny lead and bronze coffin was discovered under a San Francisco home - much to the surprise of its residents. Although no one knew for certain who she was, it was clear that the little girl was not born in this century - in fact, it was estimated that the casket was crafted sometime in the 1800s.

Construction workers were remodeling Ericka Karner's childhood home when they discovered the little girl's body. After the initial medical examination, Karner was informed that the city would not take responsibility for the child and that the child's reburial would be up to her.

Buried Innocence

The small child was carefully buried in a white lace dress, with a delicate red rose and a spray of lavender, which had been woven into her blond hair.

It was clear that she came from a well-off family, her ornate burial in a white christening dress and ankle-high boots indicated that she came from money.


The Garden of Innocence, a charity that helps to bury the bodies of unidentified children, stepped up to arrange a reburial for the little girl - temporarily named Miranda Eve.

Associated Press

Even after she had been buried a second time, the people at Garden of Innocence refused to give up on the search for her identity. One year later, they got the break they needed


After about a year of searching, volunteers got a break in the case when they discovered a map of the original cemetery's plots at the University of California at Berkeley.

They identified multiple family burial grounds, which then led them to old funeral home records. The records pointed to a little girl, buried around the same time, in the same area as "Miranda Eve."

After a more thorough investigation, they confirmed that little Miranda was actually Edith Howard Cook. The little girl died on October 13, 1876, just shy of her third birthday, from a marasmus - severe undernourishment.

Investigators guess that she likely caught a disease that her immune system couldn't fight, which caused her to enter into a coma and then pass away.

After more than 1,000 hours of searching for a living relative, researchers sent her DNA sample to labs for testing. UC Davis Professor Jelmer Eerkens was able to find a living relative in Marin County.

Somehow Edith's coffin was forgotten when the bodies in the 19th century Richmond District cemetery had been removed. Now, over 100 years later, she can finally rest in peace.

A graphic artist's retouching of a photo of Edith Howard Cook, who died more than 140 years agoInside Edition

[h/t Inside Edition / Unilad / Daily Mail]

Popular Videos

Related Articles