Fort Worth, Texas
Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother says he didn’t know for three decades that a Fort Worth funeral operator kept the original coffin that held Oswald’s body and is asking a state judge to recover the proceeds from an auction of the coffin and other items last month.
Robert Edward Lee Oswald, 76, of Wichita Falls sued Baumgardner Funeral Home, Allen S. Baumgardner Sr. and Nate D. Sanders Inc. on Friday. He alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, invasion of privacy, gross negligence and mental anguish.
Robert Oswald says he bought the casket in 1963 after his brother was gunned down by Jack Ruby in Dallas while in police custody on suspicion of assassinating President John F. Kennedy.
The grave was exhumed in 1981 so investigators could clear up conspiracy theory claims that another body might be inside. Undertakers determined that the plain pine casket had deteriorated too much to be used again. Another casket was used in the reburial at Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park in Fort Worth.
Robert Oswald assumed that the original casket was destroyed and says he was never told that Baumgardner kept it, apparently to profit from its sale one day, the suit alleges.
The coffin sold for $87,469, and the sale price for Lee Harvey Oswald’s death certificate was listed at $49,374. Robert Oswald said he learned of the casket’s existence last month during its much-publicized auction.