Skip to content

Solved? Forensic evidence offers clue to Amelia Earhart's disappearence

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
3/8/2018 (6 months ago)
Catholic Online (

Forensic study provides first solid evidence that Earhart died on Nikumaroro Island.

Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1936 during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe by air. Accompanying her was her navigator, Fred Noonan. 

The mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance may be solved.

The mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance may be solved.


By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (
3/8/2018 (6 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Nikumaroro, Earhart, forensic, evidence

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, set out to circumnavigate the globe by air. Their trip was uneventful until the night of July 2, 1936. 

On that night, Earhart suffered difficulties communicating with the USS Itasca, a Coast Guard cutter supporting her expedition. These difficulties made it impossible to verify her location. Within an hour of her expected arrival time on Howard Island, the Itasca began searching for her missing aircraft. The US Navy also sent ships. 

By the following day, a full search was underway, but not a single piece of wreckage was found. Aircraft were used to search nearby islands, including Nikumaroro (formerly Gardener) Island. Her plane wasn't found, but signs of recent habitation in the island were logged. 

Eventually, the search was called off and Earhart's disappearance became a mystery. That mystery was forgotten as World War II raged across the Pacific just five years later.

The most probable and likely event is that Earhart ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean. She and Noonan sank with their plane and there was nothing to find. Whatever flotsam may have come to the surface eventually sank or washed ashore and became indistinct. 

However, in 1940 a British expedition to Nikumaroro uncovered some tantalizing clues, including a skull and other human remains. Ina ll, 13 bones were found on the island and may have belonged to one person. Speculation flourished at the time that they were the remains of Amelia Earhart. 

However, a forensic examination was performed on the bones, and they were ruled to belong to a male, not a woman. The bones were then discarded and are now lost to history. 

Over the past several decades, several hypotheses have been suggested. Earhart sank. Earhart was captured by the Japanese. Earhart crash-landed and was eaten by massive coconut crabs. Even aliens were offered as a theory. 

Last year, a photograph surfaced which seems to show Earhart and Noonan waiting to board a Japanese transport ship, possibly as prisoners. The ship is towing a barge on which may be the wreckage of her aircraft. It's a provocative idea, but one that strains credulity. Air searches revealed no crash landed aircraft on any islands in the days following her disappearance. And the Japanese have no records or credible witnesses of any sort to support the idea they were captured. Apologists say the Japanese would have covered their involvement to avoid embarrassment and shame, but this is too great a secret to keep for almost eight decades. 

The theory has since been debunked as the original photo was published in a Japanese travel magazine two years before Earhart'sdisappearancee. 

So, Richard Jantz, a forensic anthropologist from the University of Tennessee applied modern forensic techniques to reevaluate the bones. His conclusion was surprising. 

He assumed Dr. D.W. Hoodless, the original doctor who evaluated the bones, made a mistake in concluding the bones belonged to a man. Forensic anthropology wasn't a developed science, so it is unlikely Hoodless applied the best methods. 

If that's the case, and if the bones belonged to a woman, then their measurements affirm that they belong to a woman of unusual height. This is consistent with Earhart, who was about 5"8', uncommonly tall for a woman at that time. 

In fact, Jantz's study concludes the bones are 99 percent likely to belong to Earhart. 

Adding to the possibility is the fact that the original British expedition also discovered a sextant from 1918, a bottle of alcohol, and part of a woman's shoe. Taken together, it is possible that Earhart crashed and died on or near Nikumaroro island. 

The sea around the island will likely be searched for the remains of her aircraft, however, such a search would have to be privately funded and organized. It may be many years in the future. Until that happens, the mystery will remain open to speculation. 



'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2018
Priests and their Pastoral Ministry.
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.


More Asia Pacific

Irish health minister proposes abortion free-of-charge Watch

Image of

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris has announced that he intends to make it possible for women in the Republic of Ireland to have abortions ... continue reading

Catholic education group applauds Australian school funding plan Watch

Image of

A $4.6 billion funding package for Catholic and independent schools in Australia has won the support of a national Catholic education ... continue reading

Secuestran a misionero italiano en Africa Watch

Image of

Un grupo de presuntos terroristas musulmanes secuestraron al misionero italiano P. Pier Luigi Maccalli en la noche del 17 al 18 de ... continue reading

This 87-year-old woman feeds the homeless in Chile every week Watch

Image of

Every Wednesday night, 87-year-old Elena Donaire goes out onto the streets of Santiago, Chile, to meet the homeless and attend to their ... continue reading

Vatican-China relations on the brink of improvement Watch

Image of Archbishop McCarrick often served as an unofficial bridge between the Vatican and Chinese government-appointed bishops until 2016.

Following reports that the Holy See and the People's Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement on the appointment of bishops in ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.