(google Miranda Eve for news stories)

Child's casket found under garage floor in San Francisco

Since day one of receiving the little girl called Miranda, we have been searching burial records, maps, photos and books to try to identify Mirand and give her back her name. Following is a list of the twelve volunteers that have worked tiredliessly to find her name.  

The first five names have been working non stop since June on this project

Miranda's Research Team:

Elissa Davey, Genealogist and Founder of Garden of Innocence

Jelmel Eerkens, Professor of Anthropology at UC Davis Campus Davis, CA

Dave Frederick, Cold Case Investigator & recognized Genealogist in Billing, Montana

Bob Phillips, Genealogist in Seattle, Washington

Alex Snyder, MS Urban Studies in San Francisco

Ed Green, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering UC Santa Cruz

Sidra Hussain, Graduate student in Biomolecular Engineering UC Santa Cruz

Peter Hanff, Bancroft Library Berkeley University

Tom Carey, San Francisco Public Library History Center

Steven Sederwall, Private Investigator, Owner of Cold West, Specializes in Cold Cases from the Old West 1800's. Lives in New Mexico

Bryna Hull, Graduate student of Anthropology, UC Davis

Marsha Anderson, Deputy Public Administrator, Ventura County, CA & Media Coordinator for Garden of Innocence By the Sea in Ventura

(see list at bottom of story for other volunteers involved in this case)

In the 1890's the city of San Francisco decided that the dead were taking up the land of the living and voted to have all burials stopped in the City of San Francisco and close the cemeteries.

This resulted in approximately 300,000 bodies exhumed and moved to a city below San Francisco called Colma.  Colma is considered the city of the dead as it is 2 square miles of cemeteries. Only 1500 people live in Colma.

The Odd Fellows Cemetery that borders Geary, Parker, Turk and Aguello was closed to burials in 1890, except for cremains to be deposited in the San Francisco Columbarium, which is where our Garden of Innocence Bay Area is located.

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In 1923, they started moving the approximately 29,000 bodies buried in the Odd Fellows to Greenlawn Cemetery in Colma with the majority of them to be placed in a mass grave. 

Fast forward to May 9, 2016. The homeowner that lives at 26 Rossi Street, that was build on the previous vacated land of the Odd Fellows Cemetery were remodeling their home. While digging up the slab floor in the garage, the contractor came across a strange looking metal box.  

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On closer examination, it was a casket called a Metallic Burial Case. with the body of a little girl inside. Because the casket was so air tight, the child appeared as if she had been laid to rest just yesterday, when it is possible that she was actually laid to rest sometime between 1870 and 1890.

The homeowner, Ericka Karner, called the coroners office and they came out on May 10th.  The coroner's supervisor told him to open the casket. Once opened it showed a small girl approximately 2-3 years old dressed in a long white dress with purple flowers in her hair, a cross of flowers on her chest and wrapped around her arm.

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She had not decomposed since being placed there approximately 140 years ago.  

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The coroner, told the homeowner that he feels this is a properly interred body and that the homeowner can leave it there or pay to have it buried in Colma as it is on private property and not in their jurisdiction.  He also recommended they call Arche-tec a archeological dig company who came out to view the body as well. They both left the child laying in the garage.

The contractor build a box for the casket and placed it to the side so it would not get disturbed further while the homeowner tried to find out what to do. 

She contacted a few mortuaries and cemeteries in Colma and the cost to bury this child that was not hers could be as high as $7000.00.  Arche-tec wanted $20,000 to remove the child.

As she continued to research, the child started deterioting as the casket was now open.  She sat in the yard for ten days waiting for someone to find help.

May 18th, Elissa Davey, founder of Garden of Innocence, received a call from the public administrator of San Francisco, Michelle Lewis.  She said she was just getting ready to call their legal department to see how they can help Ericka and suddenly thought of Garden of Innocence.

Immediately, Elissa said she would take care of the child and started the wheels turning. Michelle forwarded the Garden referral to the coroner to certify abandoned but Elissa did not get a call all day. Michelle asked if she could name the child Eve.

On May 19th, Elissa called the coroners office and was told that this was a private matter and they were not going to certify her abandoned and are not going to get involved. He said if she wanted to get involved, she would have to work directly with the homeowner as this in on private property and not their jurisdiction.

Ericka wholeheartely agreed to let Garden of Innocence care for the child. That afternoon, Elissa called Enrique Reade, the General Manager of Garden of Innocence National and owner of Reade and Sons Funeral Home in Fresno, CA.  Enrique agreed to hold the child in their facility until a service can be set up.  He hired a driver, a truck and sent Bobby DeLa Cruz to pick up Eve.  Bobby arrived after a full day on the job in Fresno around midnight in San Francisco and was at the job site on the 20th at 8 AM.  He picked up Eve and drove her to Fresno for refrigeration.

Elissa decided that since this child has been under Ericka's home since it was build in 1936, she should have the gift of naming the child.  Ericka asked her 4 and 6 year old daughters what they would like to name a little girl and they said her name will be Miranda.  So she is now known as Miranda Eve.

Elissa then packed a bag and drove to her sister's cabinet shop, All Star Custom Cabinets in Torrance, to help the Cooper family, build a casket to place the childs casket inside and not disturb Miranda.  It took 18 hours to complete the project and line the base section with pretty violet material.

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Elissa then loaded it into her car and headed to Ventura where she picked up Marcia Anderson, Media Coordinator for Garden of Innocence By the Sea and they drove to Santa Barbara to join up with Lori Sanchez, the Director of Garden of Innocence By the Sea and together they finished lining the casket lid.

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Once complete, Elissa and Marcia headed to Santa Cruz Memorial to meet Randy Krassow, who has offered to donate his mortuary services to help Miranda and where the casket will be stored until Enrique brings her back to the bay area for her service.

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Two days before her service, Enrique Reade, drove Miranda back to Santa Cruz where he helped Santa Cruz Memorial staff place Miranda, while still inside her original casket, inside her new casket.  While in the facility, 20 strands of Miranda's hair was pulled and send to Professor of Anthopology Jelmer Eerkens, for DNA testing. 

Then Enrique, headed to San Francisco to help the others get the memorial service lined up. 

June 4th 2016

Her service was held on June 4th 2016 in Greenlawn Memorial Park in Colma.  It was attended by approximately 140 strangers that came together to make sure that this little girl was laid to rest 'again' with the love and dignity that she was laid to rest the first time.  

She was left in the casket that her family placed her in over 130 years ago and placed inside a new cherry wood casket that the Cooper family had made for her.

August 2016:

Since the day we received Miranda, professors, scientist, librarians, private investigators, genealogist and volunteers, have been searching burial records, plot maps, surveyors maps, cemetery maps, county records, old photo's trying to find out who Miranda is.  We have exhausted every effort to try to find her name and we have not given up. We get a little closer every day.

Librarians from San Francisco History Library are trying to adjust the map of the cemetery to fit the current street maps to pin point where that house sat on what was once the Odd Fellows cemetery.  They are getting close.

August 23 2016:

Some of Miranda's DNA has been found.  Jelmer Eerkens, Professor of Anthopology at UC Davis has found the following:

First and foremost, "Miranda" is a girl.  This was verified by the DNA and lack of Y-chromosomes.  Those who know late 1800s society know that sex wasn't demarcated amoung young children, and both boys and girls typically wore dresses (and had long curly hair, etc). As I understood, nobody checked the sex of Miranda, so we assumed she was a girl. In any case, it is useful to kow her sex for certain.

The mitochondrial DNA was analyzed more extensively. Mitochondrial DNA is much shorter and simpler to sequence. Miranda's mtDNA is from haplogroup l1a1e, which suggests maternal ancestry from the British Isles.

We've done less analysis on teh nuclear DNA because it's less well preserved and is much longer and more complex than mtDNA. A quick analysis on what't been sequenced so far suggests the closest match is Central Asia/Siberia areas aka Western Europe.

August 24 2016:

The Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes in her hair have given more clues. Because hair grows incrementally, we can trace certain aspects of her diet over time. We have a little over 1 year's worth of hair growth, approximately, from the time of her death to about a year before.

Nitrogen isotopes, in particular, are interesting because they can trace stress and starvation. Higher levels of the nitrogen 15 isotope correlates with certain kinds of stress, especially the body consuming inself for calories. Nitrogen isotopes also trace consumption of breastmilk and weaning.

What I see in the isotopes are:

1) No evidence of a weaning signal. This probably means Miranda Eve had been weaned at least a year before her death. This would put her estimate age at 2-3.5 years, bearing in mind the size of the casket.

2) Increasing levels of nitogen-15, specially in the last 3-4 months of her life. This correlates to her getting sick and losing weight, maybe starting 10 months before her death, but really ramping up the last 3-4 months of her life. 

3) The corbon isotopes also suggest a fairly sudden shift in her diet around 3-4 months before her death as well.  Maybe is her illness was becoming acute, they tried feeding her different foods or this could also be a result of medicines she startedaking then that are influencing the carbon signature.

All this is consistant with illness a cause of death, and not something like a trauma or an accident.   We will keep going!

September 2016:

If we could not have been emailing each other, we would have killed a tree with all the emails going back and forth. 

Dave Frederick of Billings Montana; Bob Philips of Seattle, Washington; Ed Green, Sidra Hussain,  and Jelmer Eerkens  of UC Davis; Peter Hanff of Berkeley University; Elissa Davey, founder of Garden of Innocence and a genealogist; and many volunteer researchers across the USA are helping to solve this mystery.   It didn't die the day Miranda was buried.

We have argued about areas, plots, tiers, streets, maps, records, wanted to give up, got mad, got confused, felt injustice, felt sad, felt heartbroken, gotten hungry, blew off steam but in the long run, we have not given up. Elissa, Dave and Bob are at this with emails back and forth daily. Bob and Dave have gone into deep depths of research to find her and all have been at this at all hours of the day and night.

We will keep trying to find her even if we have to one by one recreate the entire Odd Fellows cemetery.  We will not give up until we have exhausted all of our efforts in trying to give Miranda her name.

More Volunteers:

Enrique Reade, Reade & Sons Funeral Home Fresno, CA & General Manager of Garden of Innocence National

Randy Krassow, Santa Cruz Memorial Park

Pam Pyke, Burial Record Research, Vista, CA

Marla Kennedy, Burial Record Research & Director of Garden of Innocence Orange County from  Santa Margarita, CA 

Bradley Bessegger, Amateur Genealogist

Dave Skelton, Sederwell Researcher

Jay Desisto, Texas Attorney and Cold West Investigator

Susan Stevenson, Sederwell Researcher

Jeff Aiello, Sederwell Researcher

Jill Aiello, Sederwell Researcher

Whitny Brawn, Sederwell Researcher

Carole Willard, Burial Records Researcher, Director of Garden of Innocence, Butte County, CA

Rose Hillson, Volunteer Researcher from San Francisco


Mike Gunn, Director of Garden of Innocence Bay Area and San Francisco Sheriff Department

Kevin Thaddeus, Co-Director of Garden of Innocence Bay Area and San Francisco Sheriff Department

Tim Fukuda, Director of Garden of Innocence Sacramento, Retired Sacramento PD & 3rd Degree Knights of Columbus

Allan Musterer, Volunteer at Garden of Innocence San Diego and officiate at Miranda Eve's Memorial Service

Odd Fellows Lodge of San Francisco, donated the overtime fees for the grounds crew

Greenlawn Memorial Park for donating Miranda's resting place

The Headstone Guys for donating Miranda's headstone

Barbara Peterson of Nice Twice Doll Shop for donating Miranda's Doll


OCTOBER 29TH:  We have found a child that matches all of Miranda's criterior and were able to track down living decendents.  Today we went to the home of this person in Napa, CA and he gave us his DNA to test to see if he is related to Miranda.  He is very excited and read up all about us and Miranda's story

This is the 3rd child that we have asked for DNA on and are waiting the outcome of those tests.

Keep watching for updates

Miranda's criterior to find a match:

Must have been:

Buried in a Metallic Patented Burial Case/Casket

Buried in Odd Fellows

Girl between the ages of 2 and 5 years old

Buried between 1866 and 1890