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Disbanding Group's Coffin Yields Bones

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Disbanding Group's Coffin Yields Bones
Compiled from Reports by Republic news services
The Arizona Republic
Pg. A11
March 27, 2000

KEARNEY, MO. - A set of human bones found in a coffin used by a fraternal organization has become a great mystery.

Jim Leuschke took possession of two coffins that were used by Kearney's Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which disbanded this month. The group sold its building and possession, except for the coffins, which Leuschke planned to use as props for a local theater.

One coffin was sealed, but its top loosened during transport to Leuschke's home.

"I saw these bones and realized it could not be a fake skeleton. One of the caskets had a real skeleton," he said.

The bones were taken to the Jackson County medical examiner's office where the bones were determined to be human, possibly dating to the 1800s. An autopsy had been performed and the body appeared to have been embalmed. Officials are keeping the bones for the time being, and may employ the expertise of a Kansas State University anthropologist.

Shauna Craven, a Clay County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman, told the Kearney Courier last week that it was not known whether the skeleton was male or female, and that there were no signs of trauma.

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