Edith Howard Cook, a long dead 2-year-old, has received her third funeral. And this one appears to mark, at long last, her final resting place.
Her first service was on October 13, 1876. Her second was in 2016. Her third was earlier this month.
Her perfectly preserved body was found last year under a San Francisco house, where homeowners were doing renovations. Her tiny coffin with glass windows featured an air-tight seal.
Inside, the blonde child lay in repose, with flowers both in her hair and clutched in her tiny hands.
Ericka Karner, who owned the house where the child was found, first contacted the county coroner’s office, and then the nonprofit Garden of Innocence, which inters the bodies of abandoned children.
The organization reburied her last June under the name Miranda.
And then came an exhaustive investigation by volunteers who combed cemetery and funeral home records. They discovered the little girl had been buried in the Oddfellow Cemetery, which was relocated to Colma.
But for some reason, the child’s 3-foot casket was left behind.
DNA testing found a living relative, great nephew Peter Cook, who came to Edith’s June 10 ceremony in Colma, where a new headstone with her image was unveiled.
“I found a relative that I didn’t even know existed,” he told KPIX-TV. “The sadness in this is the little girl didn’t live to be 3 years old,” he said.
Researchers found that Edith’s parents were well-known in social circles in the late 1800s. According to records they discovered, the child died from severe undernourishment, a malady called “marasmus” at the time.
It may have been caused by an infectious disease that caused the child to waste away, the nonprofit said.
“She will be a child forever,” Cook said, at what is hoped to be the last memorial service for Edith Cook.