Bombing Victim Exhumed in Hopes of Resolving Leg Mystery
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ The body of a woman killed in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing was disinterred today before her weeping family, as authorities tried to figure out whose leg was buried with her.
The body of Air Force Airman Lakesha Levy, 21, was found in the building’s rubble nine days after the April 19 bombing. More than a month later, searchers found a left leg, wearing a military-style boot and olive-drab strap used to tuck pants into the boot.
The leg matched Mrs. Levy’s DNA and footprints, the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office said, raising the question of whose left leg was buried with her last May.
Just after 6 a.m, cemetery crews began to chip open the granite covering of Mrs. Levy’s tomb on the fourth tier of a mausoleum. Mrs. Levy’s husband, Corey, her mother and other relatives stood by silently, as did FBI agents.
The silver and gray casket was lowered to the ground, where Corey Levy touched it, leaned against it and bowed his head before the group prayed for several minutes.
``My baby! My baby!″ Mrs. Levy’s grandmother, Lois Sparrow, cried out.
It was not immediately clear where the body was taken. FBI spokesman John Rook said a team of forensic investigators in New Orleans had begun testing the remains.
``Once that’s all done, she’ll be re-interred,″ Rook said.
He would not comment on how long that would be.
Authorities hope to match the leg believed to be in the coffin to one of eight victims of the bombing who were found without all or part of their left legs. If so, it would mean lowering the death toll from 169 to 168.
Authorities did not publicly acknowledge the existence of an extra leg until Aug. 7, after defense lawyers speculated it may have belonged to ``the real bomber.″
Mrs. Levy, a student in the laboratory technician training program at Tinker Air Force Base hospital, had gone to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19 to obtain a Social Security card.