Scientists have exhumed the body of Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as 19th-century serial killer H.H. Holmes, from Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon to determine if it is actually him, writes Frank Burgos for PhillyVoice.
The exhumation was done for the History Channel documentary American Ripper, following the suspicions of the killer’s great-great-grandson, author Jeff Mudgett, that Holmes had escaped execution and fled to England to become Jack the Ripper.
Scientists Samantha Cox and Janet Monge from the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology were tasked with determining if Holmes is truly buried there.
The process was tricky as Holmes was supposedly buried 10 feet down in a coffin encased in concrete. After initially finding an empty coffin, they kept digging and found another one with the names Mudgett and H.H. Holmes written on it.
DNA analyses then provided an answer.
“The best we can say at the end is that this skeleton is a relation to the Mudgett family,” said Cox. But without a definitive DNA sample of the killer, we cannot say “this is H.H. Holmes.”
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