After Lee Harvey Oswald was captured as the prime suspect in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby on the way into his final interrogation. It may have just been grief or it may have been to silence Oswald. The true motivation for his murder may never be known. Oswald was laid to rest in Fort Worth’s Shannon Rose Hill Burial Park. There were no mourners at the funeral, so reporters present were asked to act as pallbearers.He did not rest peacefully.
Oswald’s original headstone, a simple granite slab bearing his full name, birthdate, and a cross, was stolen on the four year anniversary of Kennedy’s death. The assassin’s mother replaced the stone with a red stone that simply read “Oswald.” The original headstone then reappeared, and has been contentiously traded amongst one family dealing in JFK memorabilia.
Then in 1981, a conspiracy suggesting that a Russian body double had been buried rather than Oswald led forensic investigators to exhume his body, cross reference his dental records, and confirm that it was indeed Lee Harvey Oswald in the ground.
Only adding to the myriad conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s assassination, the plot next to Oswald bears an almost identical grave engraved with the name “Nick Beef.” Some speculated that this might be a Russian conspirator, but cemetery records indicated that the plot was empty. Others assumed it was a sneaky directive to Oswald’s grave. As cemetery staff were not allowed to give out the location of the assassin’s plot, tourists could simply ask, “Where’s the beef?”
In reality, the empty Beef grave was the work of “non-performing performance artist” Patrick Abedin. Abedin, who grew up in Dallas and saw Kennedy the night before he was killed, would visit the Rose Hill cemetery with his mother to see Oswald’s grave. When he found out the plot right next to it was available, he began a years-long process of purchasing it in $10 installments. When the time came to put down a headstone he gave an inside joke name. Despite all this, he doesn’t plan on being buried in Rose Hill Cemetery (he plans to be cremated instead). The stunt is more about creating permanence in a world that can change in an instant.