History Nebraska Blog

But He Looks So Natural!

Body of John O'Connor (NSHS Public Records)

Source: Nebraska State Historical Society Public Records 

John O'Connor died on August 17, 1913, in Hastings, leaving no known heirs or will and a $100,000 fortune. Suddenly heirs began coming out of the woodwork. During court proceedings to determine who would receive O'Connor's money, the county judge ruled that O'Connor's body should not be buried. It was kept in an air- and watertight vault at a local morgue to "be preserved there indefinitely pending positive identification by relatives."

On February 10, 1916, more than two and a half years after his death, O'Connor was finally buried. Judicial proceedings in the case continued for nearly twelve more years before O'Connor's money lapsed to the state. 

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