There will be no digging up bones in Hamilton, after all.
The hoopla over exhuming William Henry Robert’s body, aka Brushy Bill, who claimed to be “Billy the Kid,” for DNA testing is over.
According to Investigator Steven Sederwall, exhuming the remains, “would do about as good at exhuming my grandfather as Brushy.”
Sederwall had petitioned the City of Hamilton for permission to exhume the body to obtain DNA in April to compare blood samples taken from the workbench where the Kid’s body laid after he was shot on July 14, 1881.
Sederwall said he discovered, after talking to a Hamilton old-timer, that the grave had been moved from the back of the Hamilton cemetery to the front. When he asked Hamilton city officials to certify the gravesite, “They balked on us.” The city council voted against exhuming Roberts.
Hamilton City Manager Bill Funderburk could not be reached for comment.
Sederwall said he suspects the actual grave for Brushy is at the back of the cemetery and the grave up front is “a tourist trap for them to sell their wares,” referring to the Billy the Kid Museum in Hamilton. On the back of the headstone, which is clearly visible from the highway, is a clear plastic cylinder full of museum flyer advertisements.
“I find it hard to believe that a pauper would get a front and center next to the highway gravesite,” Sederwall said.
Sederwall said the grave wasn’t the only hitch in the project. He said he found further evidence that Brushy’s date of birth had been changed on the memorial stone from the date listed on the death certificate to make it fit Billy the Kid. His name had also been changed from what was written on the original stone.
“We are not going to do it,” Sederwall said. “It is a waste of time and money. The evidence shows he is not the Kid.”
See Tuesday’s edition of the Empire-Tribune to read comments from Hamilton’s Billy the Kid Museum owner Myrna Carpenter.