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No next of kin found for slain Kokomo marshal

Brief by Allen Best

History – May 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

A national organization wants to commemorate a cop gunned down in an old mining town of Colorado 126 years ago, and that in turn has provoked a search for descendants of the slain cop.

But modern-day cops have had little luck. They can’t even find the grave of the fallen police officer, reports the Summit Daily News.

The records show that in July 1880 a police officer named Michael O’Neal was killed when he attempted to quell a disturbance in the town of Kokomo. Kokomo was located between Leadville and Wheeler Junction, now generally known as Copper Mountain. What remained of the town in the 1960s, which wasn’t much even then, was uprooted, the graves moved to Breckenridge, and the townsite covered with tailings from the nearby Climax molybdenum mine.

Summit County Sheriff John Minor attempted to locate next-of-kin, but struck out. About all of substance that can be determined is that the slain police officer was 28 and had, until shortly before becoming a cop, been a saloonkeeper. He will be immortalized in Washington D.C. in an engraving dedicated to fallen peace officers.