The case of the lost tombstone has been laid to rest.
After fielding inquiries and suggestions from across the United States, Coeur d’Alene police say they can reunite Francis Pearl Eyman’s wayward headstone with her final resting place - in Spokane.
The white marble headstone, weighing about 100 pounds and dating back nine decades, was turned in to police in July 1995 after it was found in an abandoned house in Coeur d’Alene.
(daughter) of G.M. & Alpha Eyman
Born Oct. 14, 1886
Died Mar. 27, 1903
Although police called several Coeur d’Alene cemeteries and tried to find living relatives with the same last name, they had no luck.
So the tombstone sat for two years shrouded in mystery and tucked in the Police Department’s property room.
Property officer Dale Loper came upon the tombstone again recently and decided a little publicity might dig up some new clues.
After an article ran in The Spokesman-Review, the public rushed to offer help. News reports of the tombstone surfaced across the nation.
“I’ve gotten calls at home from California,” Loper said. “I’ve had genealogists call and offer their services to run it down.”
A CBS network office in New York called Loper about the story. And a man in Kent, Wash., sent a page-and-a-half fax full of people with the last name Eyman living in several states from Idaho to Hawaii.
But it was Steve Luby, office manager at Greenwood Memorial Terrace who solved the mystery.
“I read the paper Saturday morning and opened our card file and there she was,” he said.
The Greenwood cemetery is one of the oldest in the Spokane area with more than 100,000 people buried there, some dating back to 1888. According to the cemetery’s records, one day after her death, Eyman was buried in an area no longer maintained.
It appears someone hefted the heavy stone right off its foundation at the grave site. Who did it likely will remain a mystery.
“It’s right by the road, so whoever took it, they took the easiest one to get,” Luby said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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