On October 13,
2006 I watched
a show called "Skeleton
Stories" on The
Discovery Health Channel. This particular show in this series was
a 25 year old mystery of a child who had died at the age of 3 1/2 years
old, her name was Dawn Cooper.
From the show,
I learned that
Dawn went to live with her father, Ted Cooper and was at the mercy of
her stepmother, I just didn't get her name.
The stepmother had told people that when Dawn would have an accident,
she would rub her face in it as punishment. Dawn
was taken to the emergency room in 1975 with many bruises on her body.
Her father stated she had fallen out of a tree. It was also stated that
she had problems with her feet and it made her clumsy.
Dawn was in a coma when she was taken to the E.R. and
pictures were taken of her bruises. Dawn's stepmother tried to explain
were statements made by the stepmother that said "We think her bones
were deformed and that's why she fell"
DiCarlo - Deptuty District Attorney
Those ding the cold case files investigation read the
reports and looks at the pictures, they were not convinced that Dawn
"These injuries were in
unusual places, bottom of the feet. Extremely
difficult to bruise. There's no doubt in my mind, this child was beaten.
The number, the sizes, the locations of the injuries that were apparent
in the photographs, left me with no other conclusion that this was a
homicide, not an accidental death"
death was listed as swelling of the brain.
Hinkes was to do a
thorough examination of the 25 year old skeleton of Dawn Cooper,
for clues as to how she died. Her main concern was for Dawn's feet. If Madeline Hinkes prove that
she had no problems with her feet, then Dawn's
father and stepmother could be brought up on charges of child abuse.
Dawns body was
her above ground tomb and found to be in mummified condition due to a
that had not been air tight when sealed and the air in the city she was
buried in was warm, causing her remains to be in good condition.
was done and bruises were still viewable on portions of Dawn's
"My job was to focus on
the ankles and the feet to see if there were some
difference between the feet, if there was some sort of pathology
anomaly that might have contributed to her being more clumsy than the
average three year old. It was chilling to see the solid evidence of
that were there. I was looking for any disparity between the two feet
xray, I couldn't see any difference, but I needed to look at the actual
So I don't see evidence to support the stepmother's claim that there was
something wrong with her feet and that's why she fell a lot and got
all the time.
Forensic Anthropologist - Madeline Hinkes
When police went to arrest Dawn's stepmother, a woman answered the door
and was hysterical. The woman was screaming "What have you done to my
mother". Police found the
stepmother dead on the floor of a self inflicted gunshot wound. There
are no reports about if Ted Cooper was ever found or prosecuted.
the web many
times for more details on this story. There doesn't seem to be any. If
you have any information or can point me in the direction of any
I would love to hear from you.
Death occurred in a state unknown to me
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