A cold-case investigation into the death of legendary outlaw Billy the Kid has recently been launched in New Mexico, which could have interesting results for the North Texas town of Hico.
Historians will tell you that William Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, was shot dead by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where he was subsequently laid to rest. But those in Hico (pronounced HIGH-ko) would rather you believe he is buried in nearby Hamilton.
Former Hico resident Ollie "Brushy Bill" Roberts claimed in 1950 that he was the true William Bonney and had escaped Garrett's attempted ambush in 1881. He said that Garrett had shot his friend Billy Barlow instead and passed the body off as his. Roberts died a short time after his confession and was laid to rest in Hamilton.
Hico has since taken full advantage of Roberts's claim, boasting its Billy the Kid Museum and celebrating each year with Billy the Kid Day.
However, Sheriff Tom Sullivan of New Mexico plans to prove once and for all what really happened to Billy the Kid. He and Capitan, New Mexico mayor Steven Sederwall have opened case 2003-274, in which they hope to settle where the outlaw is actually buried.
Having already obtained permission to exhume Bonney's mother, who is buried in Silver City, New Mexico, they plan to use her DNA and the DNA of other relatives to determine if the man buried in Fort Sumner is the true Kid. Roberts may be next.
However, if neither man proves to be William Bonney, all hope would not be lost, since there are reportedly at least 4 other cities claiming to be the Kid's final resting place.