Did This Purse Belong to Bonnie Parker? Oklahoma University Conducting DNA Tests to Find Out

Is This Bonnie Parker's purse?
University researchers are examining this old handbag.University of Central Oklahoma

Did a handcrafted leather purse, complete with bullet hole, really belong to Bonnie Parker?

Testing is underway to try to determine whether a weathered leather handbag with "Bonnie Elizabeth Parker" scrawled across its front really belonged to the infamous gun moll of Bonnie and Clyde.

Using DNA testing, forensic scientists at the University of Central Oklahoma are hopeful they can solve an old mystery about the pocketbook's former owner.

The hand-tooled purse was donated to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, with the caveat that it was rumored to have been with Parker when she and Clyde Barrow were killed in a hail of gunfire from local and federal agents in 1934.


The duo traveled the country during the Depression, robbing and killing their way into folklore before being ambushed on a deserted road in Louisiana.

“We decided to turn to science and contacted UCO, who graciously accepted to help us on this quest,” said Melissa Owens, interim chief curatorial officer and registrar with the museum. “There are not many items directly associated with either Bonnie or Clyde. If it is Bonnie’s then as a historical piece it’s priceless.”

University of Central Oklahoma

“It’s a mystery and we are going to use forensic science to solve that mystery,” said Caitlin Porterfield, a forensic science instructor at the university. 

Related Stories