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Body with gunshot found in search for Tulsa massacre victims

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  • CITY OF TULSA / AP
                                In this image provided by the City of Tulsa, Crews work on an excavation at Oaklawn Cemetery searching for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre on Thursday, Oct. 27, in Tulsa, Okla. Officials say the search for remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has turned up 21 additional graves in the city’s Oaklawn Cemetery.

    CITY OF TULSA / AP

    In this image provided by the City of Tulsa, Crews work on an excavation at Oaklawn Cemetery searching for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre on Thursday, Oct. 27, in Tulsa, Okla. Officials say the search for remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has turned up 21 additional graves in the city’s Oaklawn Cemetery.

A second body of a possible victim of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has been found to have a gunshot wound, according to the city.

“Forensic anthropologist Dr. Phoebe Stubblefield discovered that one of the three sets of remains exhumed last week contained one victim with a gunshot wound,” according to a statement late Friday from city spokesperson Carson Colvin.

In an effort to eventually confirm the remains are those of massacre victims, investigators are seeking signs of trauma, such as gunshot wounds, based on accounts at the time.

A portion of the bullet was removed the the head of the remains, according to the statement. The person’s race and whether the remains are those of a massacre victim are not yet known.

Stubblefield did not immediately return a phone call to The Associated Press on Saturday.

The remains were in a plain casket and are believed to be that of an adult male, matching information in reports from 1921, and were in the area in Oaklawn Cemetery where 18 massacre victims were reportedly buried.

The first remains with gunshot wounds were found in June 2021 and are now with Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Forensics where DNA analysis is ongoing.

The current excavation of the cemetery in the search for victims of the 1921 Race Massacre began Oct. 26 and has uncovered 26 unmarked graves. The work is expected to continue through Nov. 18.

Four sets of the newly found remains have been exhumed and taken to an on-site lab for analysis.

A search for the graves of massacre victims began in 2020 and resumed last year with nearly three dozen coffins recovered.

Fourteen sets of the previously recovered remains were sent to Intermountain Forensics for testing, and two of those have been found to have enough DNA to begin sequencing and start developing a genealogy profile.

None of the remains have been identified or confirmed as victims of the massacre, one of the worst known examples of white mob violence against Black Americans in U.S. history.

More than 1,000 homes were burned, hundreds more were looted, and a thriving business district known as Black Wall Street was destroyed in the racist violence.

Historians have estimated the death toll at between 75 and 300, with generational wealth being wiped out.

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