DNA Could Reveal Whether John Wilkes Booth Escaped

Descendants say he took new name, committed suicide in 1903
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 24, 2010 11:14 AM CST
The death of John Wilkes Booth (1838 - 1865), the assassin of American President Abraham Lincoln, at Richard Garrett's farm in Virginia, 26th April 1865.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – DNA evidence could settle once and for all the truth about what transpired in the days after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The official story is that John Wilkes Booth was killed in a barn days after shooting the president—but his descendants say the dead man was just a lookalike. Now, they’re willing to have Booth’s brother exhumed in order to compare his DNA to that of the man in the barn, AOL News reports.

The latter man’s DNA could be obtained from a bone specimen housed at a museum in Washington, DC—but the family wants to secure the museum’s permission before it exhumes the body. The real John Wilkes Booth changed his name and committed suicide 38 years later in 1903, the family says. “I'm absolutely in favor of exhuming Edwin," a Booth family historian tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Let's have the truth and put this thing to rest."

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