NorCal couple says they heard footsteps before coffin was discovered

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017
San Francisco couple says they heard footsteps of little girl before coffin discovery
The footsteps have no logical explanation. Workmen have heard them too. It has gone on for years until the discovery of a coffin with a little girl from the 1800s inside. With that coffin gone, the Karners say they haven't heard footsteps at all.

SAN FRANCISCO (KABC) -- A coffin containing the well-preserved body of a 2-year-old girl from the 1800s was found in the backyard of a San Francisco couple, who say they've heard unexplained footsteps in the area for years before the discovery.

The girl's remains, found by construction workers last May, were apparently left behind when about 30,000 people originally buried in San Francisco's Odd Fellows Cemetery on Rossi Avenue in the Richmond District were moved in the 1920s to Greenlawn Memorial Park in Colma.

"So she was right here," said Ericka Karner, pointing to the spot in her backyard where the small metal casket was found.

Researchers have identified the young girl discovered in a casket in the backyard of a San Francisco residence in May of 2016.
Photos by Erica Hernandez

As news of the discovery spread, the nonprofit Garden of Innocence National, which provides dignified burials for abandoned children, gave her the name Miranda Eve and etched "The Child Loved Round The World" on her new tombstone in Colma's Green Lawn Cemetery.

After DNA research, Elissa Davey from Garden of Innocence National now knows the child's birth name -- Edith Howard Cook.

They also learned that she died on Oct. 13, 1876, six weeks short of her third birthday, from a protein deficiency that would have been curable today.

"We just fell in love with her and wanted her to have her name back. She deserved that," Davey told KGO-TV, ABC7's sister station.

Back on Rossi Avenue, that information touched Karner and her husband John, who have two daughters of their own and feel a kinship with little Edith.

"When we discovered her we thought, 'That could be my little girl,'" John Karner said.

"There was a lot of emotion as a mom," Ericka Karner said.

As for the footsteps, the Karners said they've heard them for years until the discovery of the coffin.

"We know very well what a toddler sounds like, and it wasn't our kids," Ericka Karner said.

The footsteps have no logical explanation. Workmen heave heard them, too.

The strangest part? With that coffin gone, the Karners say they no longer hear the footsteps.

Click here for the full release with more information on the young girl in the casket.

The Associated Press and KGO-TV contributed to this report.