SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A little girl whose body was found in a coffin buried under a San Francisco home last summer has finally been identified after months of forensic detective work.
It is a mystery that spanned 120 years and took eleven months to solve. She is 3-year-old Edith Rose Cook — a great, great aunt of Pete Cook.
“I was jumping for joy because it gave me more opportunity to find out about my family,” Pete Cook said.
Edith’s coffin was found in May of 2016, buried under the garage of a home under renovation. She was re-buried in June 2016.
It’s believed she was left behind when the Odd Fellows Cemetery where she was buried was relocated to Colma.
When she was discovered more than a century later, Garden of Innocence, a group which buries unnamed children, took on her case.
So they got together a team, including a bio-molecular engineer to try and find her name and any living family. A genealogist took the names in the old cemetery and traced down living relatives, getting a DNA sample to compare.
Ed Green, associate professor of bio-molecular engineering at UCSC said, “We were able to compare this to a candidate relative that was identified by the rest of the team, the genealogist on the team. And it turns out the two are close relatives — about 12.5 percent identical.”
Pete Cook was match, giving Edith back her name and peter all sorts of information he never knew about his family tree. It is that missing piece of the puzzle that brings it the family full circle.
“It will be something that I can pass on to my children,” Pete Cook said.
In June, Edith will have a memorial service.