Lee Harvey Oswald’s Brother Sues Funeral Home Over Coffin Sale
As reported by AP, ABA Journal, Techdirt, & Courthouse News Service, Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother has sued a Texas funeral home over its auction of a casket and assorted items used in connection with JFK’s killer. After Oswald’s body was exhumed, the Baumgardner (formerly Miller’s) Funeral Home obtained Oswald’s casket in 1981. Exhumed? Here’s what happened:
In October 1981, with his widow Marina’s support, Oswald’s grave was opened to test a theory propounded by writer Michael Eddowes: that during Oswald’s stay in the Soviet Union he was replaced with a Soviet double; that it was this double, not Oswald, who killed Kennedy and who is buried in Oswald’s grave; and that the exhumed remains would therefore not exhibit a surgical scar Oswald was known to carry. However, dental records positively identified the exhumed corpse as Oswald’s, and the scar was present. (Source)
The original casket was in bad shape (18-years underground will do that do you), so the funeral home replaced it with a new one. Instead of destroying the casket, Baumgardner Funeral Home held on to it. Mr. Baumgardner was an apprentice or assistant at the funeral home in 1963 and apparently he appreciated the object’s significance. Last year, Baumgardner auctioned Oswalds’ coffin, Oswald’s death certificate and other related items. The funeral home also auctioned the embalming table and instruments that they had used on their most infamous customer. Baumgardner and the auction house netted $160,000 for the lot.
Now Oswald’s 76-year-old brother has filed suit claiming invasion of privacy, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and breach of contract. Should be an interesting case to watch.
A copy of the suit is at this link via Courthouse News Service.