WASHINGTON — A bronze coffin used to transport President Kennedy's body from Dallas to Washington was dropped from a military plane into the ocean two years after he was killed, according to assassination documents.
"Apparently the casket is in 9,000 feet of water in the Atlantic Ocean," Kermit L. Hall, a member of the defunct Assassination Records Review Board, said in a telephone interview Friday night.
Hall said that documents to be released Tuesday by the National Archives show that the coffin was flown several miles off the Maryland-Delaware coast in early 1965 and dumped in an area where the military discards unstable and outdated weapons and ammunition.
The revelation, on the eve of what would have been President Kennedy's 82nd birthday, that the coffin was deep-sixed resolves a lingering mystery about its whereabouts. But it also fuels speculation among assassination researchers that it was discarded to hide foul play.
Last year a document released by the archives showed that a General Services Administration truck picked up the bronze coffin on March 19, 1964. The review panel asked the GSA where the coffin was. The agency said in the summer of 1998 that it didn't know.
"Essentially what was going on was an effort to make sure the casket didn't turn into a historic relic for the marketplace," Hall said.