Commentary: Lee Harvey Oswald's first coffin should rest in peace

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramDecember 26, 2010 

Bill Dear remembers the day they dug up Lee Harvey Oswald.

First, they had to dig up a moldy pine box.

"It was pretty rank," said Dear, 73, the storied Dallas private investigator who was in charge of security at the 1981 Fort Worth exhumation of the accused presidential assassin.

Somebody bought Oswald's old coffin last week, I told him. For $87,469.

"I can't believe it!" said Dear, now an investigator in rural Hill County.

"Why sell that? I don't think it's right."

Fort Worth funeral director Allen Baumgardner is the center of the latest Kennedy assassination controversy -- all because he kept and has now sold the pine box.

Baumgardner has been quoted as saying that after Oswald was exhumed and identified, he traded Oswald's widow and daughters a new metal casket, even up. Square deal.

Last week, Baumgardner sold the cracked pine box to an unidentified bidder through a Santa Monica, Calif., auction house. The coffin had been stored at one of the family's funeral homes, he told reporters.

He told The Dallas Morning News, "I just felt it was time to let go of it."

To read the complete column, visit www.star-telegram.com.

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