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Friday, September 30, 2005

Genealogical Curiosity On Trial in Texas

From the Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman:

Kenedy case arrives at Texas Supreme Court

Court to decide if Austin judge had jurisdiction to order body dug up

By Jeremy Schwartz

Friday, September 30, 2005

Past the desolate miles of stunted mesquite, in an ornate and meticulously tended South Texas cemetery that rises out of nothingness, lies a body that may be worth nearly a billion dollars.


[John G. Kenedy Jr.], a hard-drinking bon vivant, was long assumed to have died in 1948 without heirs, sterile from a childhood case of the mumps. But the descendants of a maid on the sprawling Kenedy Ranch claim Kenedy fathered an illegitimate child with her, a secret kept for generations.


Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman ordered an exhumation in January 2004. Lawyers for the John G. Kenedy Jr. Charitable Trust and John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation argued that Herman lacked the jurisdiction or the authority to make such an order and that even if Ann Fernandez is Kenedy's daughter, she would not be able to reopen Kenedy's long-settled estate because of statutes of limitation.

"We don't dig up bodies simply for someone to satisfy some genealogical curiosity," argued attorney Michael Hatchell.


[Read the whole story]

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