Discovered in 1966 the caves of Chihuahua, Mexico, two California teens smuggled the Lemon Grove mummies across the border into the United States. The Lemon Grove mummies included a 15 year old girl and and infant. The teens decided to keep the stolen mummies in a friend's garage in the advent of the war against Vietnam and the mummies remained there for 14 years. The method of acquisition of the mummies restrained the teens from displaying their discovery which caused them to hide the mummies.
14 years later, a mother cleaning out her garage, finds the hidden mummies and immediately contacts the authorities, assuming a murder has occurred. The authorities completed their examination and concluded that the remains had been deceased for a centuries. Carbon dating examination confirmed that the mummies died sometime between 1040 A.D and 1260 A.D. The police tracked down the two teens, who were now adults and questioned them to determine the background of the discovery. They decided to donate the mummies to the San Diego Museum of Man. This was only possible because the Mexican government decided to grant America with ownership of the mummies and the fact that the mummies were of Mexican Indian origin. In the case that they were of American Indian origin, the mummies would have been repatriated to their tribe and buried properly.
The Lemon Grove mummies were extremely well preserved. This was indicated by the hair still clinging to the head of the 15 year old and also the ears and nose of the baby remaining intact. The mummification process was carried out naturally by the cold, dry desert air which dehydrated the bodies, in addition to restricting bacteria from housing the flesh and decomposing it. Researchers suggest that the bodies were not purposefully buried based on the position of the bodies curled up and huddled close together.
The living descendants of the mummified girl could be traced by extracting a DNA sample from the mummy.
The mummies were determined to have died in their sleep. No other cause of death has been determined.
The Museum of Man in San Diego contains the only display in the United States where a stolen mummy is on display.
Deem, J. M. (n.d.). Mummy Tombs. Retrieved from Lemon Grove Girl: Featured Mummies Around the World @ Mummy Tombs: http://www.mummytombs.com/featured/lemongrove.html
Sullivan, K. (2016, November 7). Ancient Origins. Retrieved from The Lemon Grove Mummies: Ancient Corpses from Mexican Cave found in California Garage: http://www.ancient-origins.net/history/lemon-grove-mummies-ancient-corpses-mexican-cave-found-california-garage-006956