Preserved toddler found in coffin identified one year after discovery

Last year, the body of an unknown little girl was discovered in a lead and bronze casket beneath a San Francisco home. Her body was perfectly preserved, with her hands clutching a single rose.

Now, the toddler has been identified.

The child is Edith Howard Cook, who passed away on October 13, 1876. The nonprofit Garden of Innocence project worked with researchers to identify Cook, who died around a month before her third birthday.

Her body was discovered when the home she was buried under was going through remodeling. The site was part of Odds Fellow Cemetery in the 1800s -- and city officials thought all the bodies were moved upon relocation in 1902.

See photos of the coffin

Preserved toddler identified as Edith Howard Cook
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Preserved toddler identified as Edith Howard Cook
Credit: Elissa Davey
Credit: Elissa Davey
Credit: Elissa Davey

Cook's family plot was moved, but her small casket was left behind for an unknown reason. Researchers went through the cemetery records to find out who the mystery toddler could be, and confirmed with DNA.

Garden of Innocence aims to provide burials and services for children who have no family to do it for them. Before she was identified, the project nicknamed Cook "Miranda Eve" and held a reburial service for her, which was attended by over 140 people.

Given her expensive coffin, it's likely that Cook's family was well off. The cause of death is likely severe undernourishment due to an infection.

Another service for Cook will be held on June 10.

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