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"strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching, and remember, you can't take it with you. [ airplane engine buzzing ] ♪ >>president kennedy has been assassinated. it's official now. the president is dead. >> even the most hated man in america... [gunshot ] >> [groans] >>lee oswald has been shot! >> ...gets his name on a headstone. >> the stone clearly shows oswald's date of birth and death. >> but how did it become their strange inheritance? >> i thought, "what on earth was a tombstone doing under my mother's house?" >> only after it's stolen, recovered, hidden, found, fought over, and more. >> we're going to take it back to texas, back home to the good ol' boys where it can have a lone star beer and make a lot of noise. >> you really wanted it back, dave. why? >> maybe they messed with the wrong tombstone owner. [ door creaks ]
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[ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] >> i'm jamie colby, and today i'm driving down the street in dallas where president john f. kennedy was shot on that horrible day in november 1963, and i'm about to meet a man who was left with a dilemma tied to jfk's assassin. >> my name is david card. my family's not related in any way to lee harvey oswald, so i don't know what's stranger -- the story of how we inherited his grave marker, or the story of what happened after. >> hi, dave. i'm jamie. >> jamie, david card. such a pleasure to meet you. >> thank you. same here. >> yeah. >> thanks for having me in. great bar. >> since the late 1970s, dave card has owned and operated poor david's pub, a bare-bones downtown dallas club that provides a stage for up-and-coming
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singer-songwriters. >> is it here? >> if you're talking about the tombstone, yes, it is here. >> dave doesn't usually keep his strange inheritance in his nightclub. he has a secret hiding place for it, but he's taken it out to show me. >> this is the original tombstone of lee harvey oswald. >> whoa. it feels wrong, but i'm just admiring the carving and everything. i mean, somebody went to a lot of trouble to make this headstone. i do want to hear more of the story. >> well, let's go have a seat and talk about it. >> okay. >> dave tells me that in november 1963, he was back in dallas after a tour of duty with the marine corps. ♪ on friday, november 22nd, president john f. kennedy and his wife, jackie, land at dallas love field. >> i was on the parade route at the corner of oak lawn and lemmon avenue as he drove by. >> at the time, dave's
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stepsister, cleo, is a 16-year old sophomore in town. >> did you see it? >> the motorcade drove straight in front of our school on the freeway. >> i was feeling very patriotic at the time. >> though not exactly a jfk fan. >> i waved to him. i don't think he noticed me, but i did whisper under my breath, "i'm still not gonna vote for ya." >> 12:30 p.m. as the motorcade enters dealey plaza, shots ring out. >>it appears as though something has happened in the motorcade route. something, i repeat, has happened. >> how did you learn that the president had been shot? >> it came over the loudspeaker at school. >> what was the reaction? >> silence. nothing but silence. >>it is official now. the president is dead. >> what a horrible thing to happen, an assassination of the president of the united states, and in your city, in your hometown. >> within hours, police arrest
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24-year-old lee harvey oswald, an employee at the texas school book depository building, which overlooks dealey plaza. >> oswald was a suspect almost immediately because people had pointed to him leaving the building, and that's what i remember -- that he was apprehended rather quickly. >> a shocked nation learns he's an ex-marine who defected to the soviet union, married a russian woman, and, then, disillusioned with the soviet system, came home to texas. >> so why do you think he did it? >> i think maybe he thought that this was a point in history where he was doing a great thing and maybe a touch of megalomania. i don't know. >> then, just two days after oswald assassinates jfk... >> i was watching television when it happened. [gunshot] >> [groans] >> i saw this commotion. >>he's been shot! lee oswald has been shot!
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>> no one knew immediately what it was that happened, but jack ruby shot and killed him on national television. >> dallas nightclub owner jack ruby murders oswald in the basement of the dallas police department. >> it's just this person stepping forward, making a lunge like that, and then there was a shot... [gunshot] ...and it was unreal. it was incredible. i do remember my mother calling me from michigan and saying, "what's wrong with those people down there in dallas?" and i said, "well, mom. it's not us. we don't hate the president." >> does that mystery behind the shooting of lee harvey oswald add extra significance to having his tombstone? >> i really can't answer that. i just feel like the story behind it is so much bigger than what actually we know. >> ruby claims he killed oswald
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to spare kennedy's widow the anguish of having to attend a murder trial in texas. and now the assassin's widow, young daughters, brother and mother must attend his funeral -- the same day as jfk's. oswald has no friends to carry his coffin, so seven reporters step up as pallbearers. it's marguerite oswald, the assassin's mother, who orders the headstone to be placed atop her son's grave. >> it happens to be the tombstone of the most famous assassin in the history of western civilization. >> like many notorious figures in history, oswald's grave attracts the grimly curious. and that presents the next big plot point in this "strange inheritance" story. in november 1967, on the fourth anniversary of the jfk
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assassination, oswald's headstone goes missing. the caper is quickly solved when the father of a teenager in bartlesville, oklahoma, turns in his son and a friend. >> they came down as a prank, stole that tombstone, and were showing it off to a bunch of their high school buddies. >> it's returned to marguerite oswald, but never to the cemetery. she substitutes a more austere design. >> on the grave, she put a different headstone that was less attractive and much heavier. >> but what does marguerite do with her son's original, ornate gravestone? and how in the world, decades later, do the heirs in this "strange inheritance" tale end up with it? this is where the stories of two families, the cards and the oswalds, intersect. >> so this was marguerite oswald's house. where did your mom live? >> she lived across the street
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in that second duplex from the corner. >> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question -- what was ronald reagan's secret service code name? was it...? the answer after the break.
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♪ earth hour is about empowering people making a difference to change climate change with passion and excitement earth hour is about inspiring climate action celebrating a global movement and impact ♪ join us at 19th march at 8:30pm ♪ >> so, what was reagan's secret service code name? the answer is "a," rawhide.
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"trailblazer" was george w. bush, and "scorecard" was dwight d. eisenhower. >> in the mid 1970s, more than a decade after the jfk assassination, dave card's father and stepmother happen to be living in a one-bedroom flat on this block in fort worth, texas. living across the street, a well-known neighbor -- the mother of lee harvey oswald. >> your stepmom and dad end up living across the street from marguerite. >> yes, and they would talk as neighbors occasionally. i don't think they were very close. >> ida card, however, admires marguerite's home, which is a little bigger and nicer than her duplex. >> well, it's a 2-bedroom. it's got a garage out back, a driveway, small porch out front. >> and when marguerite dies in 1981, donald and ida card purchase it. >> your family bought the house
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that lee harvey oswald's mother lived in? >> yes, they did. >> for real? hi, cleo. i'm jamie! >> it's now home to dave's stepsister, cleo. >> i'd love to see inside. can i? >> yes! >> thank you. it's not haunted or anything? >> not yet. >> after moving in, cleo and dave's parents do some home improvements. >> it required an electrician to go under the house, through the crawlspace, and he came out, and he made a statement like, "there's a tombstone under there." >> well, that explains what marguerite oswald did with the tombstone after the oklahoma teenage thieves returned it back in 1967. >> the tombstone was about midway, centered, under this bar. >> cleo, what did you think when you first saw the tombstone? >> goodness, i thought, "what on earth was a tombstone doing under my mother's house?" >> seems marguerite just wanted
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to secret the stone away, where nobody would think to look. >>the stone was wrapped in heavy plastic, placed behind a brick wall. it clearly shows oswald's date of birth and death. >> the discovery hits dallas tv news. >>the new owner of the residence is mrs. ida card. >> but notice. you only see a photo of the gravestone in this report. there's a reason for that -- ida's dispatched it to a new hiding place. >> in fact, my stepmother was rather paranoid about the publicity that it was generating back then, so she transferred it for safekeeping over to her sister's house. >> that would be ida's sister, billie, and her husband, albert, who also live in fort worth a few miles away. >>it is in a safe location, but they wouldn't tell me, and i didn't ask 'cause i didn't want to know. >> dad never tried to sell it? >> at one point, they did have a family lawyer come over and look at it, and he said, "hold on to it for a while.
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it may increase in value." >> and that's just what they do. so the tombstone remains hidden -- in uncle albert and aunt billie's garage -- for decades. even after ida dies in 1994, donald doesn't remove it from his in-laws' custody. but he doesn't forget about it, either. when he passes away in 2001, along with his will, he leaves this handwritten accounting of assets he hands down to dave and brother clifford. and look. right there -- "lee harvey oswald tombstone stored in cleo's aunt's garage to be shared with cleo." it now falls to cleo and dave to figure out what to do with this strangest of inheritances. >> the oswald's didn't even want it. >> it's a rather morbid piece. >> what did you decide? >> we were just gonna leave it there until we came up with a plan for it.
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>> they're not the first seemingly drawn to the headstone without quite knowing why. what do you do with lee harvey oswald's headstone? >> did aunt billie's end up being a safe place? >> unfortunately, aunt billie started to experience a little senility. at that time, her son, johnny ragan, offered to take it to his house for safekeeping. >> are you following this? let's review. lee harvey oswald's original headstone is placed on his grave in 1963. it's stolen in 1967, then returned to oswald's mother, who hides it under her house. in 1981, it's discovered by the new owners of the home, dave and cleo's parents, who then store it at cleo's aunt and uncle's house for safekeeping. it stays there, even after dave and cleo inherit it in 2001.
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then around 2004, after aunt billie goes senile, her son, cleo's cousin johnny, hides it at his house. >> so johnny became the custodian, and were you and dave okay with that? >> yes. >> he was a trusted relative. >> underscore "was." >> johnny went incommunicado. holly said, "i haven't seen that tombstone in 20 years, and this is none of your business." >> that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you... the answer in a moment.
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>> so... it's "b," andrew jackson. in january 1835, a mentally deranged painter named richard lawrence tried to shoot jackson at close range. old hickory responded by beating the would-be assassin with his cane. >> it's 2008 in dallas/fort worth, and, oddly enough, dave card and his siblings have never actually taken possession of the strange object they inherited seven years before -- lee harvey oswald's tombstone. cleo's cousin, johnny ragan, and his wife, holly, are supposedly hiding it for the heirs. then... >> unfortunately, johnny passes away in some form of an industrial accident, which involved a camper extension. >> somehow or another, he got
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caught between the wall in his shop and the expansion that goes out from an rv. >> when they found his body, he was lying there crushed between the camper extension and the wall. >> oh, my gosh. >> now, how that happened is a mystery. >> despite the odd circumstances, the police call johnny's death accidental. we requested an interview with holly, but through her attorney, she declined. >> after a certain amount of respectful time, cleo went and asked holly about the tombstone and where it was. >> was everything okay? >> holly disavowed any knowledge of where it was. >> so you said, "sorry for your loss. by the way, i'd like to pick up our tombstone," and she said? >> she did not know where it was, that she didn't know what johnny had done with it. >> did you believe her? >> i had no reason to distrust her at that time.
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>> holly said, "this is none of your business." we thought maybe johnny had stored it somewhere else and that eventually it would surface. >> did it surface? >> yes, it did. >> and nowhere near dallas. >> my brother, clifford card, was surfing the internet, and up came oswald's tombstone, being displayed on a website in illinois. >> how did it get to illinois? >> well... >> it didn't walk there. >> next, the going price of an assassin's headstone and the cost of getting it back. when we return. what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, when you think about success, what does it look like? is it becoming a better professor by being a more adventurous student? is it one day giving your daughter the opportunity she deserves?
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is it finally witnessing all the artistic wonders of the natural world? whatever your definition of success is, helping you pursue it, is ours. t-i-a-a.
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[ wind howls ] >> now back to 'strange inheritance." >> it's 2011, and a family of texans are trying to locate their strange inheritance -- the gravestone of john f. kennedy's
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assassin, lee harvey oswald. it was supposed to be at the home of a cousin in fort worth, but he's dead, and his wife, holly, is telling them to go away. where else can they go but the web? >> my brother, clifford card, was surfing the internet, and up came oswald's tombstone, being displayed on a website in illinois. >> how did it get to illinois? >> well... >> it didn't walk there. >> wondering what the heck happened to his strange inheritance, dave has his attorney call the man in illinois. >> it turned out that holly had sold it to him. my lawyer asked him, "so you bought this from holly ragan, didn't you?," and he says, "well, yes i did." >> directly? >> yeah. >> the man, who runs a small museum, claims to have paid holly $45,000 after holly showed him a document that she said proved she had inherited the stone after her husband,
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johnny's, death in 2008. >> the cards were going to have to take legal action in order to get back what they truly believe, and i believe, was rightfully theirs. >> but before dave's lawyers let him unleash a costly lawsuit, they make one more call just to make sure the oswald family won't now claim the $45,000 headstone really belongs to them. >> the legal representative of the oswald estate was contacted, and there was no expression of interest in making a claim. >> but dave card is ready to press his. >> after a year of trying to resolve the issue, we finally filed a lawsuit. >> you really wanted it back, dave. why? >> i wanted it back, one, because it was ours. secondly, because of what it represents -- a dark time in the history of the united states.
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>> but dave admits there may be one more overriding reason. >> maybe they messed with the wrong tombstone owner. [ chuckles ] >> after a dallas judge orders the two sides into mediation, they settle the case. >> how much money did it cost you to get the tombstone back? >> it was a bundle. >> we're talking six figures? >> we are talking six figures, yes. we have finally recovered the original lee harvey oswald tombstone. >> in august 2015, dave drives up to illinois with a friend to, for the first time, take possession of his strange inheritance. >> we're going to take it back to texas, back home to the good ol' boys where it can have a lone star beer and make a lot of noise. >> after that, well, dave still doesn't know exactly what he's going to do with it. >> justice prevailed. >> maybe he'll sell it. >> so, that's the way it is
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at the moment. >> maybe he'll display it. maybe he'll -- well, that's the dilemma, that as i said at the beginning of this story, dave's inherited. it's the same one faced by marguerite oswald... >> i think we got the state line of texas coming up here soon, don't we? >> ...those oklahoma teenagers... >> yes, we do. >> ...donald and ida card and the rest. >> right now, we're in texas. >> what do you do with lee harvey oswald's tombstone... >> ♪ hallelujah >> say bye now. >> bye now. >> ...except put it back in a secret place until you decide? ♪ if you're wondering about that gold cross on oswald's headstone, he was raised lutheran, but his mother couldn't secure a christian minister for his funeral. after the assassination, oswald, a fervent marxist, told police interrogators, "what religion am i? i have no faith."
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i'm jamie colby. thanks for watching "strange inheritance." >> a precious heirloom... >> "this was once the property of george washington." you're a v.i.p. >> [ laughing ] yeah. >> ...and the pride of a modest family. >> my father was a truck driver. we got along, but we were very frugal. >> so how did she end up with washington's wallet? >> are you a descendant of george washington? >> no, i'm not. and it's quite a long story. >> a story about love of country... >> we want these things because we want a connection to these men. >> ...the allure of big bucks... >> i established a value for the wallet. >> it was a lot of money. >> ...and some good old-fashioned intrigue... >> someone took the wallet and disappeared. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ]


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