Medical Examiner Tries to Identify Skeleton Displayed for Decades at Dallas Heritage Village

For 40 years a mystery has been staring Dallas Heritage Village visitors in the face. Now the Dallas County medical examiner's office is trying to figure out whose remains have been hanging in the museum's doctors office. The medical examiner's office took possession of the skeleton, which was nicknamed Alice by the doctor who last owned it, in early June. It will undergo testing and be interred after investigators do all they can to learn about its history, museum officials explained at a talk Sunday afternoon.They'd believed Alice was a small white woman in her late teens or early 20s who died in the late 19th century, museum curator Elizabeth Qualia said. She may have been from Henrietta, about 100 miles northwest of Dallas, where the doctor practiced."A lot of staff, including myself, have become attached to Alice," Qualia said at Sunday's event. "...[We want to] tell her story in a better way." Staff members all agreed it was time to remove Alice from public display.Her position high above the desk in the doctor's office seemed jarring, Qualia said, and visitors who didn't want to see human remains didn't have any warning to avoid the exhibit.Besides, using a model skeleton wouldn't affect the educational value of the exhibit.Within two days of Alice's removal, nurse and museum volunteer Drew Timmons shared the predicament with his colleagues at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, who agreed to pick up her remains.As workers lowered Alice from her place in the doctor's office exhibit, where she had been since December 1979, they realized one of her thumbs was missing. The medical examiner's office also informed them Alice's pelvis was suspiciously small and may have come from a male body."Turns out, we knew even less than we thought," Qualia said.  Continue reading...

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