San Francisco couple says they heard footsteps of little girl before coffin discovery

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Take a good, long look at the Odd Fellows Cemetery on Rossi Avenue in San Francisco.

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You might be wondering -- where are the graves?

This is what the site of the Odd Fellows Cemetery looks like now -- a soccer field and street, Rossi Avenue in San Francisco.


"So she was right here," said Ericka Karner, pointing to the spot in her backyard where workmen discovered a small, expensive coffin.

Inside, they found the well-preserved body of an unknown two-year-old girl. When crews removed the other bodies back in the 1930s, they made the mistake of leaving her behind.

"It was a whole series of things...she's buried here. What do you do? And what do you do that is right for this child?" asked Karner.

As news of the discovery spread, Garden of Innocence National, which provides dignified burials for abandoned children, gave her the name Miranda Eve and etched "The Child Loved Round The World" on her new tombstone in Colma's Green Lawn Cemetery.

Tuesday, after DNA research, Elissa Davey from that organization now knows the child's birth name -- Edith Howard Cook. And, they learned how she died by examining strands of her hair they learned how, in 1876, she died from a protein deficiency that would have been curable today.

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"We just fell in love with her and wanted her to have her name back. She deserved that," Davey told ABC7 News.

Back on Rossi Avenue, that information touched Karner and her husband John, who have two daughters of their own and feel a kinship with the found little girl.

"When we discovered her we thought, 'That could be my little girl,'" John Karner said.

"There was a lot of emotion as a mom," Ericka Karner, his wife told ABC7 News.

But there is a twist -- as we left, the Karners told us about hearing the sound of footsteps on the floor above them. "I've heard them," John said.

"We know very well what a toddler sounds like, and it wasn't our kids," Ericka continued.

The footsteps have no logical explanation. Workmen heave heard them too. It has gone on for years until the discovery of the coffin. Now the strangest part -- with that coffin gone, the Karners say they haven't heard footsteps at all.

In life, death, and for eternity -- little Edith Howard Cook will always be two-years-10-months and 15-days old.

Click here for the full release with more information on the young girl in the casket.
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