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Medical examiner seeks to ID bodies from 1944 circus fire

HARTFORD — Connecticut’s medical examiner is seeking to exhume two female bodies found after the 1944 Hartford circus fire in an attempt to identify at least one of them.

Chief State Medical Examiner James Gill tells The Hartford Courant he is hoping modern DNA testing can put a name to unidentified remains buried under markers as numbers 2109 and 4512, the case numbers assigned by the Hartford County Coroner after the fire.

Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy filed a motion Friday on Gill’s behalf for a court order to allow the bodies to be exhumed.

Grace Fifield, of Newport, Vermont, is among those listed as missing since the July 6, 1944, fire at Ringling Brothers Circus, which killed 168 people and left 682 injured.

Her granddaughter, Sandra Sumrow, has provided a DNA sample to assist in the investigation.

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