Bereaved Mother Learns of Son's Fate, 1925

Finger Prints Taken After Death Establish Identity of Boy Suicide

GRIEVING mother stood over an inconspicuous grave in Miami, Arizona, thinking of the young son she would never see again.

If it had not been for the efforts of a fingerprint expert of Miami, that mother would never have known where her son was buried.

A few months before the mother visited the town of Miami, a young man surrendered himself to the Gila County sheriff's office. He was a drug victim, and he begged to be given treatment to cure him of the habit.

He seemed to be progressing after only a few days' care, but he was despondent, and one day the attendant entered his room and found him hanging to the light fixture by a rope he made from strips of bedding.

Nothing was known of his identity at this time, as he had been too ill to be questioned carefully. Mrs. William Wallace, a finger-print expert of Miami, took the dead man's finger prints and forwarded them to the Federal Bureau at Leavenworth. Thus, she learned his real name and various places of residence during several years of traveling.

When she heard of a prominent Eastern woman, who was trying to locate a missing son, Mrs. Wallace, together with Postmaster Joseph Downey, of Miami, corresponded with the mother, and after exchanging several letters, was successful in establishing the identity of the young suicide.

The bereaved mother came at once to Miami, to visit her son's grave and to thank Mrs. Wallace for her work in saving the boy from an unmarked grave.

1. "Nameless Dead Identified: Bereaved Mother Learns of Son's Fate", Finger Print and Identification Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 7, January 1925, page 8.

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