SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A special memorial service was held Saturday for a little San Francisco girl who died more than a century ago and whose name was. at first. a mystery.
Edith Howard Cook was found buried under a home last year. This was her third and final send off. The difference is that this time, mourners knew who she was, and what she might have looked like.
Her story brought strangers, scientists and even a long lost relative to Greenlawn Cemetery in Colma.
“I found a relative that I didn’t even know existed,” said Peter Cook, her great nephew.
It all started when construction workers accidentally dug up a 3-foot long casket in Ericka Karner’s backyard last May.
“It was a little bit of shock and now what do we do? There’s no handbook on what you can do,” said Karner.
At the time, the discovery generated goosebumps and worldwide curiosity. Who was this blond-hair, little girl, and why was she there?
The homeowner with the aid of the non-profit organization Garden of Innocence, buried the girl last June and named her Miranda Eve.
“I actually asked my girls ‘if you were to name a beautiful little girl, what would it be’ and Katie, without even questioning, said Miranda.”
But that second burial was just the beginning. A team of workers volunteered over a thousand hours to identify her. In May, DNA tests confirmed she was 2-year-old Edith Howard Cook, the daughter of a well-known San Francisco family. She died of an unknown illness in 1876.
Little Edith’s casket was left behind when the Oddfellow Cemetery in San Francisco was relocated to Colma.
“The sadness in this, is the little girl didn’t live to be 3 years old,” said Cook.
Saturday, Cook and the volunteers paid their respects and put in a new headstone with Edith’s name and picture.
“Very rarely are your results etched in stone,” said Ed Green, a biomolecular engineering professor. “But here we are with the results finally done and etched in stone.:
Adds Cook, “She will be a child forever, forever.”