Waco Meets The Kennewick Man

by Carol A. Valentine
Curator, Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum
Copyright, September, 1999
May be reproduced for non-commercial purposes

September 26, 1999 --  In 1996, a 9,300 year-old skeleton was found on the banks of the Columbia River, near Kennewick, Washington.  Called the Kennewick Man, this ancient gentleman is thought to have been a Caucasian.  You can read more about the Kennewick Man here: 


The  Kennewick Man has upset many politically correct applecarts.  Why?  He indicates that whites predated the American Indians as inhabitants of this country: Out the window, perhaps, goes part of a campaign to shame white Americans into subservience for stealing the land from "native" Americans.

There is no doubt where the US government stands in the controversy.  The US Army Corps of Engineers, which owned the property on which the remains were found, dumped tons of fill onto the site.  They want no more research. The Corps wants to give the Kennewick Man to the Indians to be buried as an Indian. 

Two years ago some private citizens filed a law suit against the government, seeking to stop the internment.  Among the plaintiffs is Dr.  Douglas Owsley, division head of physical anthropology for the  Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. 


But  Dr.  Owsley's history shows he is a government man, and a dangerous man.  Can he be trusted in Kennewick?  Look what Owsley did in Waco.

Recall that the FBI issued public statements that the Branch Davidians had killed each other and set themselves on fire on April 19, 1993.  Given that the Mt.  Carmel Center was (allegedly) the scene of a mass murder/suicide, highest professional standards should have been used to recover the bodies.  Procedures for recovering bodies in a crime scene are of utmost importance.  The environment in which bodies are recovered is packed with evidence of the time, circumstances, and cause of death, essential in murder investigations. 


Dr.  Owsley is trained in these methods.  In fact the Smithsonian Institution's anthropology department has had a long standing relationship with the FBI for decades, ostensibly helping the FEB solve crimes and identify victims.

Dr.  Owsley's colleague, Dr.  Douglas Ubelaker (the curator of anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian),  has written a popular book on the work of forensic anthropologists ("Bones, A Forensic Detectives Casebook," Edward Burlingame Books, 1992.) The dustjacket tells us Dr.  Ubelaker is a top consultant to the FBI.

Says Ubelaker:  "A smart detective knows how much may be learned from the environment in which a body has been found," (pg. 105).

Both Dr. Owsley and  Dr. Ubelaker were sent to Waco to help the locals recover the bodies of the Branch Davidians from the ruins of Mt.  Carmel.


But instead of using world-recognized professional standards in recovering the bodies, Drs.  Owsley and Ubelaker participated in the gross mishandling of the remains.  Their acts of commission and omission make them full  participants in the cover-up of the Waco Holocaust in its most heinous aspect: The murders of the mothers and children. 

Now, the details:

Among forensic anthropologists, utmost emphasis is placed on examination of human remains at the site of discovery or "in situ."   Once the relationship between the remains and the environment has been disturbed, it cannot be created again with accuracy, writes Dr. Ubelaker (pg. 107).

Another well known forensic anthropologist, William Maples, echoes Dr.  Ubelaker's words.  In his book "Dead Men Do Tell Tales," Dr.  Maples writes of a murder case in Florida. The sheriff's department had found remains at a burned out shack and mistakenly thought Dr. Maples was out of the country.  A technician was sent out to pick up the remains. Dr. Maples laments:

"If only I had been called in just two days sooner! The Alachua County Sheriff's Department thought I was out of the country, in Peru, and unreachable; in fact I had just returned to the United States the morning before the remains were discovered. I could easily have gone out to the burned shack and seen the remains in situ. Instead, an investigator from the medical examiner's office carefully gathered up every single bone fragment she could find . . .

"When I finally opened the vinyl bag I was overwhelmed. Inside, totally commingled and crushed, were approximately ten thousand bone fragments . . . as matters stood, the remains had been jumbled twice, once by the fire and again by the evidence technician." (Maples, pgs. 151-152)

Maples describes the great care he took in recovering bodies in a grave in Fort Myers, Florida:  "The corpses would have to be disinterred very carefully if a case were to be made against their murderers. The details of the crime would have to be reconstructed from the stratigraphic evidence of the scene." Dr. Maples took great care to make sure that happened.

". . . In those days I was having some back trouble. I found it excruciating to stoop over these corpses for hours on end. I compromised by crawling down into the hole and lying alongside the bodies, digging them out while lying next to them, face to face . . ." The care with which the murder victims were excavated demonstrated that the victim buried deepest had been shot last (Maples, pgs. 57-58 and photo caption). 

According to government's testimony,  Owsley was brought to Waco to help recover the bodies,


In the cases presented below, please note that all these bodies were found in the concrete room, an old records storage room that the Branch Davidians used as a pantry.  You can see a picture of the concrete room (after the fire) at:


And you can see a diagram showing the locations of the bodies at:


We might have expected Dr.  Owsley, like Dr.  Maples, to be there recovering the bodies in situ, bending down over the corpses, digging them out with painstaking care, taking notes and recording the most minute details of stratigraphic evidence.  He should have carefully noted any anomalous placement of body parts.  "A smart detective knows how much may be learned from the environment in which a body has been found."

 Now let's look at what he did instead.

Cyrus Howell Koresh

Cyrus Howell Koresh (Doe 67-2) was the eight-year-old son of David and Rachel Koresh.  Owsley's name appears on Cyrus's Autopsy Report.  According this report (pg.  3) Dr. Owsley did the anthropological examination. 


Now look at page 2 of the Autopsy Report for Doe 67-2.   It says that Cyrus probably died of suffocation as a result of  structural collapse.  But the structure in which Cyrus's body was found did not collapse, as you have already seen in


So Cyrus could not have possibly died in the structural collapse of a building that had not collapsed.  According to testimony in the 1994 trial of the Branch Davidians, recovery workers and a Texas Ranger were in the concrete room day after day removing bodies.  Owsley could have been there, too, if he had wanted.


But there is no mention that Owsley (or Ubelaker) ventured into the concrete room themselves.   Of course they should have been there to recover and examine the remains in situ.  So Dr.  Owsley's name on an Autopsy Report authenticates the false statement of the cause of death in the report (suffocation due to structural collapse.) 

There are several other problems with Dr.  Owsley's signing off on Cyrus's Autopsy Report. Cyrus's head was  missing.  A structural collapse, even if it had happened, would ensure the head would remain in place.  Owsley training as a forensic anthropologist would have led him to ask questions about the missing head, too, whether or not he was in the concrete room during recovery.

Here's another problem with Dr.  Owsley's signature:  Cyrus's remains were found in an agglutinated mass, fused together with 10 other bodies of persons who had variously died of smoke inhalation, suffocation, and gunshot wounds. 

" .  . . There were several other bodies that were intertwined that we just couldn't separate without tearing them up.  And so, they were all packaged in one body bag and given numbers by the medical examiner later on," a Texas Ranger testified in 1994.  (Transcript, pg.  935).

Speaking of the commingled remains, the May 1, 1993 Dallas Morning News quotes Judge James Collier, Justice of the Peace for the Mt. Carmel Center district: "They were all in a mingle with one another. I was in the funeral business for 40 years, and I never saw anything like this. This is the worst because of the sheer numbers of it. It's mind boggling."

How did the remains of all these people become fused together?  There is no record in the Autopsy Report that Dr.  Owsley raised this most interesting question.

Bobbie Lane Howell Koresh

Bobbie Lane was the one-year old baby of David and Rachael Koresh.  Bobbie Lane's remains were shattered and  found at sites approximately two feet apart in the concrete room.  Hence Bobbie Lane has two Autopsy Report.  (Doe 69 and Doe 67-5.)


The recovery workers were unaware at the time the remains were gathered that the body parts belonged to one person, and hence two separate numbers were assigned as the remains were collected.

Dr.  Owsley's name appears on both Autopsy Reports (pg.  4 of Doe 67-5 and pg.  5 of Doe 69) as having performed the anthropological examination.  Doe 69 consisted of a nearly complete skull and jaw (the jaw had to be reconstructed),  wavy medium brown hair, and a partial torso.  Doe 67-5 was recovered from that same agglutinated mass from which Cyrus's remains emanated.  Doe 67-5 consisted of a right foot, upper and lower legs, pelvis bones, and a right hand with attached lower arm. 

Was Dr. Owsley on the scene to recover the body of Bobbie Lane, as professional standards require?  The Autopsy Report for Doe 67-5 says the remains were "presented to the County Morgue co-mingled with other bodies in the 'Bunker' with sorting performed by Dr. Owsley." So apparently Owsley stayed in the morgue, passive, waiting for the body bags to arrive, and then sorted the bones.  Quite a deviation from those professional standards! 

There is no record in the Autopsy Report that Dr.  Owsley addressed the question of how Bobbie Lane's body was found in separate pieces, two feet apart.  Nor is there an explanation of why Bobbie Lane's body was left rotting in the elements and was not recovered until April 27-29

Star Howell Koresh

Star Howell (Doe 67-1) was the six-year-old daughter of David and Rachel Koresh.  Star's shattered remains were found in the agglutination mass in the concrete room, along with Cyrus and part of Bobbie Lane. Dr. Owsley's name appears on this Autopsy Report as having performed the anthropological examination, but there is no record of him recovering the remains in situ.  What a shame he did not offer an opinion on why the body was found shattered, or why the body was allowed to rot in the elements before recovery on April 27-29.


(see pg.  5 for Dr.  Owsley's name.)

Hollywood Sylvia 

Dr. Owsley name appears on the Autopsy Report of remains identified as those of one year old Hollywood Sylvia, Doe 67-4.  "Body is presented to the County Morgue co-mingled with other bodies in the 'Bunker' with sorting performed by Dr. Owsley. . . " (pg.  3)


The corpse weighed only 3.9 lbs, and it was so decomposed it was impossible to tell whether the sex organs were male or female.  The child allegedly died on April 19, and the body allowed to rot in the concrete room until April 27-29.   "Advanced postmortem decomposition," says the Autopsy Report.  No doubt.  But even so, the April weather in Texas is not hot.  Why was the corpse so decomposed before Dr.  Owsley started sorting the bones in the morgue?  What a shame he wasn't there doing his exam in situ, as professional standards dictate, and what a shame he was not curious enough to ask any tough questions from his comfortable chair in the morgue.

Paiges Gent

Paiges Gent (Doe 64) was a baby girl.  "The separated body parts are presented for autopsy wrapped in a white sheet."  Body parts include "separated skull with disarticulated mandible. The skull is incomplete with missing occipital and left temporal bones . . . Separated and decomposing fragments of scalp are also present with long blond hair. . . . large mass of soft tissue and viscera with co-mingled ribs, vertebrae, scapulae, sternum and most of the bones of the extremities . . ."

Paiges body was extracted from the agglutinated mass found in the concrete room.  Dr.  Owsley is listed as having done the anthropological examination. Was Dr. Owsley at the scene to recover the body?   The Autopsy Report says:  "Body is presented to County Morgue co-mingled with other bodies in the 'Bunker' with sorting performed by Dr. Owsley."

(see pg.  3)

Again, no explanation for the shattered remains, and no explanation of how Paiges's body became agglutinated to the remains of 10 others.  Dr.  Owsley, where were you when America needed you?

Melissa Morrison

Melissa Morrison was about eight when she died at Mt.  Carmel.  Her Autopsy Report (Doe 74) reveals that only her lower legs were found.  Dr.  Owsley was joined by Dr.  Ubelaker in the "anthropological examination" for this victim (pg.  3).  No explanation of the state of the remains.  What happened to the rest of her body?


Indeed, a trained forensic anthropologist like Dr.  Owsley should have become curious about the entire forensic scene in the concrete room.  Some bodies found in the concrete room were virtually incinerated--puzzling, in that the Mt.  Carmel fire lasted only 45 minutes.  Other bodies found a short distance away in the same room were only slightly charred.   In other cases, entire sections of bodies had been burned away, but the remaining sections were variously described as moist, liquefied, or badly decomposed.

Some bodies were whole and easily recognizable as human forms.   Others, as we have seen, were mutilated, dismembered, or  shattered.   In the concrete room we find heads without trunks, trunks without heads, limbs without trunks.  John Bean (Doe 32), a man whose remains were found in the concrete room, was found without a head, arms, or legs.  His extremities appear to have been cut cleanly from the trunk, as if with a mechanical saw.  And no, tanks did not go into the concrete room and destroy the bodies.  The door of the room was less than four feet wide, and undamaged after the April 19, 1993 fire. 

The bodies of the women and children found in the concrete room bear the marks of purposeful destruction by the murderers.  The US government does not believe these Davidians were murdered by other Davidians, since no Davidians have been charged and the evidence at the crime scene destroyed.  The lack of indictments and the mishandling of the forensic evidence speaks volumes about the identities of the murderers.  They are in fact a public acknowledgement by the US that the US committed the murders.

The fact that Dr.  Owsley did not  apply the standards of his profession also speaks volumes.  He did not recover the bodies in situ.  He sat in the morgue and waited for the body bags to arrive, sorted the bones, and never asked any questions.  Then he allowed his name to be placed on Autopsy Reports which he must have known contained lies about the causes of death.  Douglas Owsley must have known he was cooperating in the cover-up of murder of dozens of innocent mothers and children and he must have suspected the identity of the murderers. 

Authors Christopher Joyce and Eric Stover describe the death machine in Argentina under the military junta:  "In most cases . . . military or police squads delivered the bodies of their victims to municipal morgues, where the police surgeon gave them a brisk examination. Many morgue workers were well aware of the atrocities committed around them. Army trucks would arrive at morgues late at night, carrying bodies, often mutilated and bearing signs of torture. Officers ordered the morgue workers not to perform autopsies and simply register the bodies as 'N.N.' for 'no name.' These were usually buried in unmarked graves . . . " (Witnesses From the Grave, Little, Brown & Co., 1991 pg. 224). 

Argentina has come to the United States.  It came to Waco in the persons of the Smithsonian anthropology team.   With his record of cooperating with the murderers of the Branch Davidian mothers and children,  should we trust Douglas Owsley, Ph.  D. in the Kennewick Man controversy?  You jest .  . .

911 Lies exposed at http://www.public-action.com

Carol A. Valentine President, Public Action, Inc. http://www.Public-Action.com
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