October 22, 2009

Skeleton Not Everett Ruess's After All

New tests show a skeleton found in the Utah desert is not that of artist Everett Ruess.

Last spring, I thought the mystery of his disappearance had been solved.

From an AP story:

Everett Ruess vanished in southern Utah in 1934, writing in a final letter to his family in California that "as to when I revisit civilization, it will not be soon" and "it is enough that I am surrounded with beauty."

He was 20 and a gifted poet who explored the Southwest over much of four years. In between journeys, he hobnobbed with famous artists of his time.

Initial DNA tests were termed "irrefutable" months ago by University of Colorado researchers, but one of them said Wednesday he accepted as final the new results from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Rockville, Md.

Utah's state archaeologist, Kevin Jones, had questioned the original results, prompting the family to seek a second opinion.

Jones said a recovered lower jawbone was characteristic of an American Indian's, not a man of European descent, and that worn teeth suggested a lifetime diet of coarse grains. It's not known whose remains were actually found.

But I still think he probably was murdered. He remains one of nature religion's saints, Blessed Everett the Martyr, patron of the Canyonlands.


Reid Farmer said...

I was just about to send you an e-mail to ask if you'd seen this. I feel badly for Dennis Van Gerven who is a good guy who apparently went out on a limb supporting a colleague who did the actual work.

One more unsolved mystery

Chas S. Clifton said...

Yes, I figured there would be a little embarrassment in Boulder.