Did Abe Lincoln's Assassin Escape? DNA May Solve Mystery

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Descendants of John Wilkes Booth have agreed to exhume his brother's body for DNA testing in an attempt to determine whether the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln escaped capture and eluded justice, as the family has been told.

Booth, an actor from Maryland, shot and killed Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Most believe he was tracked down 10 days later and shot inside a tobacco barn in rural Virginia by Union soldiers and buried in an unmarked grave in Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery.

That, however, is not the story that has been passed down in the Booth family. According to family members, Booth escaped capture and lived for 38 more years.

That story was also made popular in the 1907 book "The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth," written by Finis L. Bates. In the book, Bates suggested a Booth look-alike was mistakenly killed at the farm. Booth then assumed the name John St. Helen and committed suicide in 1903 in Enid, Okla.

In an effort to end the speculation, Hulme and her family want to compare DNA from Booth's brother, Edwin, to that of a bone specimen at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington. The bone is from the man who was gunned down inside the barn....

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