Judge OK’s Exhumation of Outlaw’s Grave
LIBERTY, Mo. — A Clay County judge on Thursday gave the go-ahead for researchers to exhume the Kearney, Missouri, grave presumed to be of 19th century outlaw Clell Miller to determine if he is really buried there.
Miller, who rode alongside fellow outlaws Jesse James and Cole Younger, was shot and killed by angry townspeople during an infamous botched daylight robbery of a Northfield, Minnesota, bank on September 7, 1876.
Fellow outlaw William Chadwell was also shot and killed during the attempted robbery.
Miller’s family had assumed that his remains had been returned to Missouri and buried at the Muddy Fork Cemetery in Clay County, but the man who shot him – a medical student named Henry Wheeler – claimed that he actually had Miller’s skeleton, which he used in an anatomy class.
The skeleton was later donated to a North Dakota Odd Fellows Lodge after Wheeler retired in 1923, where it remained until it was rediscovered two years ago.
Researchers petitioned Clay County authorities to exhume the body buried in Clay County to compare DNA from the corpse to that of Miller’s descendants. On Thursday, a judge gave the go-ahead to the exhumation – which has the blessings of Miller’s family – set for October 8th.
The remains will be reburied following examination. The DNA examination is expected to take several months.