More than 130 people gathered at a California cemetery on Saturday to bury a little girl whose past remains a mystery. Officials have determined the young girl, who is now being called Miranda Eve, died 145 years ago, but they do not know how or why. Strangers wept at her graveside and mourners stood staunchly by her graveside. They hoped in a small way that their presence would fill the void of her real family.
According to the Washington Post, the mystery of the blonde-haired girl began last month, when construction workers, who were renovating a garage at San Francisco home, discovered an unusual object in the ground.
Upon closer inspection, the object was determined to be a small coffin made of bronze and lead. Inside the coffin, the construction workers found the well-persevered body of a tiny girl with golden hair.
The body of a girl dubbed Miranda Eve is getting a reburial 145 after her first burial. https://t.co/KjpXJ9MXw7
— KATC TV3 (@KATCTV3) June 5, 2016
According to reports, the little girl was dressed in a hand-made, pleated, white cotton dress. The unnamed child had lavender in her hair and arranged across her chest in the shape of a cross. Dozens of rose petals were scattered throughout Miranda Eve’s tiny casket.
The stunned construction crew contacted homeowner Ericka Karner immediately. According to reports, Ericka was on vacation with her family when the crew found the burial site.
Karner said, “I was shocked on one hand, obviously, because there’s a small casket underneath the home. But I wasn’t necessarily super surprised because I knew the history of the area.”
The San Francisco’s Richmond District boasted an impressive number of cemeteries throughout the 1800s. However, as the city developed, officials passed laws that reduced the number of cemeteries to make room for development and improvement.
A particular graveyard, Odd Fellows Cemetery, was located where the Karner family home now stands.
When the cemetery was closed in the late 1800s, the bodies were moved to another site, where they were placed in a mass grave. Unfortunately, the workers missed one of the graves.
As she was unsure how to handle the situation, Karner contacted the medical examiner’s office for advice. To her dismay, she was informed that the coffin, and Miranda Eve’s remains, were her responsibility because they were found on her property.
Inside Edition reports, Ericka Karner was determined to give the little girl a proper burial. However, the cheapest quote she received for a plot was $7,000. Karner also ran into issues when attempting to obtain a death certificate.
As Miranda Eve’s actual identity was unknown, a death certificate could not be secured. Without the death certificate, a burial permit was next to impossible to obtain. In an effort to assist with the situation, the public administrator introduced Karner to Elissa Davey, the founder of the Garden of Innocence — a nonprofit organization devoted to providing funeral services for unidentified children.
Davey said, “[T]his child belonged to somebody; they took great care placing her in that casket. Somebody loved that little girl. She still had her eyelashes, she still had her skin.”
Based on the size of the little girl’s teeth, Davey estimated the girl died approximately 145 years ago at the age of 3.
After weeks of planning, the girl, who was renamed Miranda Eve by the homeowner’s family, was laid to rest on Saturday at the Greenlawn Memorial Park.
Unidentified girl dubbed Miranda Eve is given a proper reburial 145 years later https://t.co/3qnpDZFEnT pic.twitter.com/yBneMrbCI2
— BerneBrnaby (@BrnabyBerne) June 5, 2016
Miranda Eve was given a brand new wooden coffin with a deep purple lining. The funds for the burial, coffin, and plot were donated by the public and a dozen members of the Knights of Columbus presided over the solemn ceremony.
“It was a very wonderful service. The headstone arrived, the baby arrived, the Knights of Columbus arrived — it was just wonderful,” Davey said.
Davey noted that the cemetery where Miranda Eve was laid to rest is not far from the mass grave where the bodies from the Odd Fellow Cemetery were moved.
“Her mom and dad may be in there. She needs to be where her family is,” Davey said.
[Image via Zwiebackesser/Shutterstock]