Preliminary DNA tests show remains exhumed from Jesse James’ grave probably are his, a forensic scientist said Friday.
The grave in Kearney, Mo., was exhumed in July to resolve lingering doubts about whether the outlaw’s body had really been buried there.
James Starrs, the George Washington University scientist who led the exhumation, said just about everything historians had believed about James was confirmed by the genetic tests.
That included proof that the James family line extended from his mother, Zerelda James, to living descendants who gave their blood for analysis.
“We’ve been very fortunate in light of the degraded condition of the remains,” Starrs said at the JamesYounger Gang 1995 Kentucky Roots Conference.
Starr said a complete report will be released Feb. 23 in Nashville at a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Preliminary findings also showed that James:
Was 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 inches tall.
Was buried in a pine box with ash handles, not in a metal coffin as reported by newspapers in 1882.
Had two bullet wounds - one on the lower right side of the back of his head and another in the right ribs.
James and other members of his gang held up banks and trains from 1866 until around 1880. He was shot and killed by a new member of the gang who turned traitor in April 1882.
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