Body Removed From James' Grave
Neosho Daily News, July 18, 1995

    KEARNEY, Mo. - Most of the upper body of the man buried in a grave marked with Jesse James' headstone was recovered today by researchers out to determine whether the legendary outlaw is actually buried there.

    Most of the skull, the upper rib cage and both arms were recovered along with some teeth that would be useful in DNA testing.

    "It looks very promising with respect to DNA," said James E. Starrs, the scientist leading the project.

    Metal casket handles found in the plot turned out to be solid silver, providing more evidence that the grave was that of James, or at least that of the man buried under James' name a century ago.

    "There's nothing to discount it and everything to support it," Starrs said.

    Starrs, a professor of forensic science and law at George Washington University, said the skull fragments found this morning appear to be in good enough condition for DNA samples to be taken.

    The samples can be compared with DNA of James' living descendants to determine of the remains actually are those of James.

    The exhumation is aimed at settling numerous questions about James, chiefly whether the bones are really his.

    The crowd of about 200 that had surrounded the northwest Missouri site as the dig began Monday had dwindled to about half that today.