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10 YEARS AFTER THE VIOLENCE // HOW FAR HAS TAMPA COME?

Ten years ago, almost to the day, a young black man and a young white cop struggled violently in the dried leaves and dirt of a housing project yard. The young black man, named Melvin Eugene Hair, died.

People in the neighborhood where Melvin Hair lived were enraged by his killing _ it resembled to them too many other violent encounters with police. For three nights, scores of young people besieged the College Hill district of east Tampa. Motorists and police were pelted with rocks and bottles, trash bins and a car were set afire. A grocery store, the only one in the neighborhood, was burned and looted.

Stories of the destruction and racial strife _ sent around the country by newspapers and television _ caused a collective spasm of shame and soul-searching in Tampa, which had lauded itself as "America's Next Great City."

A new mayor, Sandy Freedman, used the incident as a springboard for a series of sweeping changes. Within three months of Hair's death, Freedman banned the controversial neck hold used by the officer, forced the police chief to resign, implemented a hard-nosed racial slur policy for city employees, and unveiled a home-loan program for poor people.

That's one set of facts. Here's another:

East Tampa today looks much like it did on the night Melvin Hair died. While the percentage of people who did not finish high school has dropped from 60 percent to 55 percent, it is a gain without an apparent benefit. More people live below the poverty line.

Over the past 10 years, hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been spent building a hockey arena, an aquarium, a spring-training stadium for the New York Yankees and a convention center. A new football stadium is going up, and planners say it will cost $700-million to widen the junction of I-4 and I-275.

In east Tampa, the most ambitious economic development project going is proposed to cost $1.5-million _ of private money. It involves rehabilitating a handful of dilapidated commercial buildings at an intersection now dominated by drug dealers. If successful, it will provide residents with a Laundromat to wash their clothes, a convenience store and some office space.

Asked to assess how far the city has come in a decade, municipal leaders point proudly to the city's first black police chief, to the first black chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, to a handful of black figures powerful enough to derail a major municipal project.

But progress becomes an extremely relative term when, in the next breath, those same city leaders assert racial unrest of the sort that racked St. Petersburg four months ago could happen in Tampa any day. Last December, when Tampa police killed a suspected drug dealer they were trying to arrest, disturbances might have erupted if officials had not acted quickly to dispel rumors and disperse an angry crowd.

What connects these two sets of facts are the experiences of the principal figures in the death of Melvin Hair. Their stories, described in interviews with the Times, bear striking parallels to the achievements and shortcomings of the city itself in the last 10 years.

Before answering how Tampa got here from there, however, we must first understand what happened in the heady days of 1987.

What transformed Melvin Hair's death from a footnote of Tampa's history into a pivotal historical moment was a mixture of context, character and confusion.

At 23, Melvin Hair had been diagnosed as a chronic schizophrenic for eight years. He heard voices and liked to draw spaceships. Sometimes the people on the spaceships would talk to him through the television. Not enough medication, or too much, could make Hair edgy and violent.

On the night of Feb. 18, 1987, as his mother and several friends drank beer and played cards, Melvin kept looking at the players' hands and saying out loud what they had. His mother said stop. He wouldn't. He tried to burn someone with a cigarette. His mother slapped him. He threw her against a refrigerator. Someone called the police to take Hair to the mental health crisis center.

"He's trying to stab up everybody," the caller told the police dispatcher. "And he's got a knife. Would you please hurry up?"

Just before 8:30 p.m., officer David D'Agresta, a strapping 24-year-old rookie, picked up his first assignment of the night. The dispatcher said there was a mentally ill person with a knife at an apartment in College Hill Homes, a 710-unit public housing project.

D'Agresta, the back-up officer on the call, arrived in front of 2020 E Lake Ave., Apt. 541, several minutes later. But before D'Agresta could get out, a man grabbed him through the driver's door.

"I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you," the man was saying. D'Agresta pushed him backwards. Was this the man who was supposed to have a knife? D'Agresta had no idea that the knife had been invented to make police come quicker.

D'Agresta and Hair fell to the ground. D'Agresta lost his gun and he was afraid Hair had it. Two female officers pulled at Hair, but they were too small to help.

A crowd gathered, including Hair's mother, and people began shouting and tugging at the officers' uniforms. He's crazy, but he doesn't mean any harm, Hair's mother said.

"He was either going to kill me or I was going to get control of the situation," D'Agresta said later.

He managed to get on top of Hair, who was face down on the ground. D'Agresta applied a defensive technique he had been taught at the police academy two years before: the carotid artery restraint. He reached his right arm around the front of Hair's neck and with his forearm and biceps applied pressure to the two carotid arteries that run up either side of the throat. D'Agresta expected that within seconds Hair would become temporarily unconscious and he could be handcuffed.

The crowd became more hostile. The officers put Hair in a cruiser and took him to a nearby gas station. Hair wasn't breathing when they arrived.

D'Agresta, a former lifeguard, did mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Hair vomited twice into D'Agresta's mouth, but D'Agresta kept on.

Paramedics arrived but they could not revive Hair either. An autopsy showed that Hair's windpipe had been pinched during the struggle and he had suffocated to death.

In the previous 10 weeks, Tampa police had shot and killed two other young black men. Little more than a few rocks and bottles were thrown after those killings.

And then, on Dec. 13, 1986, an officer pulled over Dwight Gooden, the Tampa-born star pitcher for the New York Mets, after he said he saw Gooden's Mercedes Benz swerving along Nebraska Avenue. The ensuing brawl drew 22 officers, all of them white, to the scene. Gooden's bruised face appeared on the front page of a New York tabloid newspaper.

The arrest outraged many black people, who saw it as a classic example of selective enforcement.

Sandy Freedman, who had been sworn in as acting mayor in July 1986 when Bob Martinez quit to run for governor, was keenly aware of mounting tension in the black community.

"I had been saying quietly to people for a long time that I thought we had problems in the black community, and that we better start addressing them," said Freedman, who was hoping to be elected mayor in the city elections in March.

A diminutive mother of three living on Davis Islands might seem an unlikely champion of the poor. Since 1974, when she was elected to the City Council, Freedman had spent a considerable amount of time in east Tampa, a district that did not have its own black city council representative until Perry Harvey Jr. was elected in 1982.

Freedman saw that Tampa's employment and housing boom had left parts of the city behind. She believed in the promise of the city, but the Chamber of Commerce slogan, "Tampa: Where the good life gets better every day" rankled her. It didn't jibe with what she knew of the inner-city.

"There was a whole bunch of people whose lives weren't getting better every day," Freedman commented dryly.

Just over a quarter of the city's housing stock was substandard, of which the highest concentrations were located in east Tampa neighborhoods such as Belmont Heights, which surrounds College Hill.

"There were eight census tracts you could virtually have leveled because everything in them was substandard," Freedman said.

In College Hill, 90 percent of the families were headed by women, three-quarters of whom were on welfare and only 5 percent of whom worked. The fact that there had been no major violence after the spate of police killings was not a comfort to city officials. "We knew this could happen any night," said John Dunn, Freedman's press secretary.

No violence occurred the night of Hair's death. Leaders were able to mollify the crowds who gathered at the scene, taunting police. But the next morning, word circulated that the night city officials had long feared might be upon them.

Knowing there might be violent disturbances was one thing. Stopping them was another altogether. There was no playbook for Freedman to consult. The last major riot in the city had happened 20 years and four mayors earlier.

"We were learning this as we went," Freedman said. "We went on intuition."

The lack of experience showed in the release of a report on Dwight Gooden's arrest only hours after Melvin Hair's death. The report, which Freedman had commissioned from the City Attorney's Office, had been finished weeks earlier, but for reasons the participants can no longer remember it was released on the morning of Feb. 19.

"I was furious," said Dunn. It was not Michael Fogarty, the city attorney, who released it, Dunn said, but the police, who "saw this as their vindication." (Freedman later said she didn't think the report's release made any difference to what happened that night.)

Fogarty had found no overt evidence of racism in Gooden's arrest. He did point out, however, that of the department's 721 sworn officers, only 9 percent were black, as compared to Tampa's population which was nearly one-quarter black. Fogarty also concluded that the police should investigate the use of the carotid restraint hold, which two officers had tried to use on Gooden.

The public relations benefit of that recommendation and the mayor's coincidental decision to suspend use of the neck hold was diluted when Chief Donald Newberger praised the hold as "a very humane and effective method of controlling combative persons."

Such clumsy lack of orchestration between city agencies seems almost laughably unsophisticated now.

"We really went to school on the Gooden incident," Dunn said.

It had been agreed that roughly 80 police officers would be dispatched to College Hill on the night after Hair's death. In doubt was what the officers would do once they got to the scene.

As little as possible, Freedman decided. She feared that police would only worsen the situation if they tried to sweep the streets. "We didn't have the plan in place," Freedman said. "I didn't want them going in with guns blazing. Without the planning and without the training, I think we would have lost lives."

So police, who had trouble locating their riot helmets, sealed off 12 blocks around College Hill. The violence never spread outside the cordoned zone. Inside, however, young people _ between 200 and 400, police estimated _ ran around unchallenged. Burning and looting the grocery store alone accounted for $50,000 in damage.

Freedman went to College Hill on the first night of the disturbances. That night (or the next morning when she toured the damage, Freedman is not sure), she put on a bulletproof vest for the first time, hiding it beneath a police windbreaker that reached her knees.

She was afraid and tried not to show it, but she was even more troubled about what her apprehension said about the city she wanted to lead.

"How could this be happening?" she asked herself.

The psychological fallout from the disturbances was much greater than any physical disruption. Over the three nights of unrest, there were only a handful of minor injuries. As for property damage, what happened in Tampa paled compared to the 28 burned homes and businesses that St. Petersburg suffered last October.

The shock of Tampa's unrest came from the televised repetition of certain powerful images _ the burning car, for example _ that made it so difficult for the majority community to feign obliviousness.

While the image of a burning car did little for the city's national image, it lent credence to Freedman's political agenda. She won the election, trouncing her four opponents. Two more killings of black men over the next two months only added urgency to her plans. Her changes proceeded apace.

How those initiatives would play out would not be known for years. In the meantime, however, the daily lives of the principal figures in the events of 1987 would offer clues to how Tampa would look 10 years later.

The day after Melvin Hair's death, Officer David D'Agresta was suspended with pay while the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office decided whether or not he should be charged with murder.

It was an abrupt setback in a career that seemed headed steadily upward. Only a week before, D'Agresta had saved an elderly couple who were trapped in their front yard by a raging house fire next door and fallen power lines bouncing wildly in the street. D'Agresta dashed through the lines, grabbed the two people and carried them to safety.

That type of behavior had seemed like a natural continuation of his excellent performance at the police academy. He had graduated fifth in his class and won the competition for defensive tactics.

In early 1987, D'Agresta and his wife had just celebrated their first anniversary. Their son was soon to be six months old and they owned a home in northwest Hillsborough County. Their lives were stable and full of promise.

The suspension changed that rapidly. D'Agresta's wife couldn't understand it. Would he lose his job, she wondered.

"I wasn't much helping easing her fears," he said.

D'Agresta suffered psychologically. He didn't want to leave the house. He was angry and resentful of the people who controlled his fate.

Even after he was cleared and returned to work, D'Agresta's problems did not disappear. He was enraged when he saw a wall in College Hill that had been spray-painted with graffiti calling him a murderer.

"Why is my name on the wall? It's over with ... Somebody say something positive, please," he said later.

D'Agresta had himself photographed in front of the graffiti in an effort, he said, to persuade his bosses the wall should be painted over. It looked, however, as if he was posing for a trophy for his scrapbook. Police officials suspended him for eight days and assigned him to work as a spotter in the police helicopter.

Time off the street helped D'Agresta gain perspective. He realized how serious an error in judgment the picture had been and he began to rehabilitate his career.

He was handpicked in early 1989 as one of the first officers assigned to the QUAD squad, an innovative anti-drug unit that would gain national attention. In the spring of 1995, D'Agresta was presented with a single chevron for his sleeve. The stripe identified him as a master patrol officer, meaning he had served 10 years and his last evaluation had been outstanding.

He straightened out his personal life, too. He divorced, kept custody of his son, and remarried.

"I think he's changed," said a close friend, Walter Mathews. "He's matured."

The same might be said of the Tampa Police Department.

When the first officer was fired under Mayor Sandy Freedman's racial slur policy in May 1988, other officers rallied to his defense. One called the mayor "a moron." Those officers seemed untroubled by the fact that the fired officer had admitted to calling another officer "a black bitch" and a "c_-."

That kind of language was not uncommon around the department, said Tampa psychologist Dr. Vincent Skotko, who has spent 15 years looking inside the heads of Tampa cops.

Freedman's slur policy achieved its goal, Skotko said. "It really did change how people talked and behaved between themselves. It didn't necessarily change what happened between their ears."

Police have continued to feel singled out even though cops make up only a third of the 22 city employees who have been fired or suspended under the policy since 1987.

There is evidence, however, of an overall maturity in the department, Skotko said. "I think there is much more openness to diversity."

That is one obvious result of hiring more minority officers. Of the department's 915 sworn officers today, 13 percent are black (84 men and 31 women), up from 9 percent a decade ago. The police chief is black. Women, too, are better represented throughout the senior ranks. Sensitivity training is part of the academy curriculum and officers take regular refresher courses.

It also is a less defensive department. The Internal Affairs division has a caseload several times larger than it was before Melvin Hair's death, when the perception existed that police were unwilling to investigate and punish bad cops. The person credited with turning around Internal Affairs is Bennie Holder, the man who is now chief.

It is a better educated department. To be hired an officer must have a minimum of 60 hours of college credits. Ten years ago, an officer could be hired with only a high school degree.

Time and turnover have done their work, too. Fully half of the force has been hired since the Melvin Hair incident, Skotko said. Of D'Agresta's graduating class of 20 from the police academy, seven remain with the department.

In the days after the Melvin Hair disturbances, some of Sandy Freedman's white constituents demanded she deal with "those people," make the problem go away. Images of burning cars were giving the city a bad reputation and that was bad for business, they told her.

On that count Freedman and white business leaders were in agreement. Where they differed was in whose responsibility it was to correct the problem.

Freedman tried to persuade business leaders that it was in their bottom-line best interest to create opportunities for the minority community.

"If we live in segregated neighborhoods and we don't have adequate housing and schools are not as good as they could be and we don't have street that are paved and trees, these are all things that make for a livable community," Freedman said. "If those don't get the attention, then you don't get the benefit of other things."

Namely, millions of dollars in corporate relocations.

"That burning car that we saw (on the news) every night for weeks probably did more to hurt our economic development over the next decade because we were seen as a city with racial problems," City Council member Bob Buckhorn said.

Freedman organized bus tours of public housing for business executives, many of whom had never visited those areas of the city.

"It was painfully obvious that this was just not a part of Tampa to them," said Dunn, Freedman's press secretary. "It was like another country."

Freedman enlisted the support of Wm. Reece Smith, a south Tampa lawyer who was serving as the chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Though he belonged to many of the exclusive clubs Freedman could not join, Smith had a proven track record in civil rights. It was Smith, a partner at Carlton Fields, who hired the first black person as an associate at a major Tampa law firm.

Smith used his connections to muster support from local businesses, including the Lykes corporation, to restock the looted grocery store in College Hill. Under Smith's guidance, the chamber formed the Greater Tampa Biracial Commission to promote discussion of racial issues between blacks and whites. And it was the chamber that paid for an independent audit of the police department.

Meanwhile, Freedman set about establishing one of the programs for which her administration is perhaps best known: the Mayor's Challenge Fund.

Four days after the Hair incident, officials secured $13.5-million in loans from local banks so that low-income families could purchase homes, avoid public housing or escape it. The goal had been $5-million.

"I really thought we were going to have to twist arms," Freedman said. "But it made sense."

The program provided banks, who were under the federal gun to write more loans in the minority community, with a pool of pre-approved applicants whose loans would be backed by federal grants. In 1985, two years before the Challenge Fund, 37 homes were rehabilitated with city money. By 1994, the annual figure of rehabilitated units was 1,553.

"If there was anything I did right, it was that program," Freedman said. "It was all about hope."

The black community acquired a new kind of muscle in the years after Melvin Hair's death. In 1990, black Tampans threatened a boycott of Super Bowl XXV, which was to be held at Tampa Stadium the following January. They wanted to protest the no-blacks membership policy of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. The south Tampa men's club sponsored the annual Gasparilla parade, a cornerstone of the weekend's entertainment.

A coalition of African-American groups presented a list of demands to the Chamber of Commerce. For Jim Apthorp, then the chairman of the chamber, it was a breakthrough.

"This was not like a disturbance in College Hill," Apthorp said. "The black community came in a very direct and articulate way. Here are the problems and here are the things that need to be changed."

Apthorp found himself being schooled on details such as the dearth of black deputy school superintendents and high school principals, and on the poor representation of blacks in the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office.

The speed of the chamber's response to the list of grievances was due in large part to "self-preservation," Apthorp said. "The threat was an economic one."

In 1993, the biracial coalition formed after Melvin Hair's death was marginalized by a new coalition of African-American groups that formed to protest a proposed pirate ship museum in the port. It was revealed that the ship, called the Whydah, had carried slaves, a fact some blacks said had been covered up by Mayor Freedman's office. The $70-million museum was scuttled.

Last December, Dr. Israel Tribble Jr., who administers a scholarship program for black doctoral candidates, became the first black chairman of the chamber. One of his goals is to bring more minorities into the chamber's leadership pipeline so that his tenure will be more than an historical aberration.

"This place is about a decade or two behind the rest of the country," said Tribble. "But this community is more ready to move forward now than at any time since I've been here."

Ironically, the most dramatic changes have occurred the farther one gets from the scene of the incident that spawned them. The life of Melvin Hair's mother _ Velma Jean Brown _ and College Hill's other residents seem impervious to improvement.

At the time of her son's death, Brown had lived in public housing in Tampa for 19 years. In 1968, she had left her hometown of Bascom in north Florida and with it an eight-year marriage to a peanut and cotton farmer who beat her.

She wanted a place of her own for her two children, but she didn't have a job so she settled in the College Hill Homes, a World War II-era project built to house the city's poor black residents. College Hill took its name from a turn-of-the-century dream of two mail carriers who envisioned a college at the heart of the community. An overgrown cemetery now stands where the college was intended to go.

Brown's dreams were no less stunted. Shortly after her son's death, she listed her assets as a 1979 Oldsmobile valued at $1,000 and $50 in cash. Her two youngest daughters were born in College Hill. Within 18 months of Melvin's death, both those daughters gave birth. Brown's 15-year-old daughter named her child Melviyana, in remembrance of an uncle the girl would never know.

Velma Brown filed a federal civil rights suit, seeking $10-million in damages from the city and the officers who tried to arrest her son. The city rejected a proposed settlement of a $1-million cash payment and a $650,000 annuity to be paid over 20 years, and the case went to trial in 1988.

Federal Judge William J. Castagna was determined that no whiff of Tampa's debate on race relations would seep into his courtroom.

"I will tell you that I will do all that I am alert enough to recognize to prevent this from becoming a trial on a racial issue," the judge told the attorneys early in the trial. "There is no allegation in any complaint that this plaintiff, the decedent, was treated in (the) manner in which he was treated because of his race . . . If the hold had been applied to a white person, you would have the same case as you have now."

Most significantly, Castagna ruled that Velma Brown's attorneys could not tell the jury that the carotid restraint hold had been banned one week after Melvin Hair's death. "Subsequent remedial action" cannot be used as proof of negligence, the judge ruled. It is an accepted legal principle meant to encourage companies to make changes to unsafe products without fear that such a change is an admission of guilt.

The all-white jury acquitted the city and the officers. Velma Brown never received a dime.

In December 1989, Brown moved out of Apartment 541 and into another smaller College Hill apartment only blocks away. The new resident of Apartment 541 was Cora Lee Turner, a single grandmother like Brown. On paper it would appear nothing had changed, but the transfer of occupancy heralded a noteworthy attempt by the Tampa Housing Authority to turn residents into business owners.

Turner had recently lost a job as a kindergarten aide and had come to live in public housing. Under the auspices of the new Resident Enterprise Assistance Program, she was trained and licensed as a day care provider. The housing authority revamped the four-bedroom apartment with air conditioning, carpeting, a washer and drier. In turn, Turner would provide day care for other public housing residents.

"I was glad I could make a day care out of it, so there would be nothing sad to remember," said Turner, who was aware of the apartment's history. "It would be something to help the neighborhood."

The goal of the program is to gradually wean these new businesses off public housing contracts until they are capable of making the jump into the free market. Oddly, housing officials do not encourage the program's participants to move out of public housing themselves.

After more than seven years, Turner seems caught in this chrysalis stage. She and her day care center remain in College Hill.

"I would like to open a larger center for more children, but it's more important to stay here now," she said.

A block from where a drug dealer was shot to death by police in December 1996, a woman is trying to pump life into a poor east Tampa neighborhood.

Chloe Coney, the head of the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, has a dream for "the Dust Bowl," the intersection of Lake Avenue and 29th Street that she calls "the worst of the worst." If she can raise $1.5-million, she aims to transform three rundown buildings into the beginnings of a commercial district.

Over the past 10 years, east Tampa has benefited by the construction of several municipal buildings _ a library, a health center, a full-service school, an athletic center. "But there's been no economic development," Coney said. If residents want to do a load of laundry or see a movie or eat at a fast-food restaurant, they have to drive somewhere else.

Gwen Miller, who represents the east Tampa community on the Tampa City Council, and her husband, State Rep. Les Miller, formed a public/private partnership that will invest in projects like Chloe Coney's. The Millers and Coney believe that east Tampa could flourish with the right attention.

"Nobody comes into east Tampa, because there's nothing there," Gwen Miller said.

Last November, to generate interest in the project from the private sector, Miller organized a bus tour of east Tampa. Like the tours that Freedman organized back in 1987, Miller judged by the expressions of shock and dismay that a number of people on the bus had never seen that part of the city.

When Dick Greco first campaigned to be mayor in 1967, Tampa had just experienced some particularly virulent riots after police shot and killed Martin Chambers, an unarmed 19-year-old burglary suspect. Racial unrest was happening across the country, but that didn't make the damage to the black business district of Central Avenue any easier to bear.

Once in office, Greco racially integrated the fire department and the City Hall workforce. He endured death threats from people who were angered by a program that gave minorities a chance to train on the job before taking civil service exams.

Two years ago, Greco returned to the mayor's office to find that the city had not progressed as far in terms of race relations as he might have hoped. The number of racially charged incidents has dropped, which is comforting. But Greco sees a pervasive selfishness in the city. Few seem to care about the 12 percent of the city's population that lives in public housing, he said.

"Five or six people a day come up to me and thank me for the saving the Bucs," Greco said, referring to the passage of a half-cent sales tax that will pay for a new football stadium as well as a host of law enforcement and education needs. "Not one person has said thanks for getting more cop cars. There's something wrong with that.

"One of the things I've been trying to tell people is that everyone doesn't live alike," Greco said. "I see life for what it really is, and it ain't pretty."

In this regard, he sounds surprisingly like his predecessor, Freedman, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last fall. She blames her defeat in part on a backlash in the white community, which she believes continues to resent the attention she paid to the black community.

"I apologize for none of that," Freedman said. "I would do it all over again."

Still, she said, "It is frustrating to me that we have not come farther in this community. And until we do, we will not be able to compete with the Atlantas and the Charlottes until we realize that everybody wins when everybody's included."

Velma Brown has remarried and is Velma Bailey now. Her husband is a cousin of a man Tampa police mistakenly shot to death in 1988.

Velma Bailey's apartment today is less than 100 yards from the scene of her son's death. So when she is asked how her life has changed since 1987, it is difficult to disagree when she says, "I don't see nothing different.

"I told them that 10 years ago. Ain't nothing going to change," she says, curling her lower lip in displeasure. "I don't know what they're waiting on."

Sadly, she has continued to find herself in abusive relationships. Her marriages seem to work better when her husband is not around, she once said. For the most part, she is the only one caring for her two granddaughters, 8 and 9, and a grandson, 2. The girls excel in school, probably because their grandmother is a stern taskmistress who insists they do their homework immediately when they arrive home.

Bailey, now 49, says she has no plans to leave College Hill, a place that has offered her so little joy over the past 29 years. She says this even though she claims to have a six-acre piece of family property back in her north Florida hometown.

"I'm not going back up in the woods no more," she says. "All my children live here."

Melvin Hair was buried under a live oak tree in the same cemetery where Martin Chambers was laid to rest. A notation in the cemetery's records indicates a marker was placed on Hair's grave, but that was premature. The cost of the marker appears to have been too great for the family, because there is nothing but a smattering of dried leaves there now.

_ Times librarian John Martin and computer-assisted reporting specialist Connie Humburg contributed to this story.

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