SECOND PHOTO OF BILLY THE KID
LOOKS AUTHENTIC

 

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     It looks like famed Old West gunfighter Billy the Kid may not have been quite as camera-shy as once thought.

     A second ancient photograph appears to match the face in the one known picture of outlaw William H. Bonney, who was hunted down and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881.  The established picture of Billy the Kid shows a slouched, slope-shouldered youth posing with a rifle, fitting his reputation as quick-drawing gunslinger and cattle rustler.  The second photo shows man in a suit sitting with his hand on a book.

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     A computer-identification expert and facial reconstruction anthropologist agreed that the image is probably genuine.  A facial-reconstruction artist said that the skull structure of the frontal bone is the same, as well as the jaw, the brow ridges, the projection of the ears, the shape of the lips, the cheek bones and the nose.

     The owner of the second tintype, Ray John de Aragon of Las Vegas, N.M., said it was passed down from his great-grandmother, who according to family history was a medical women who treated the fugitive and became his friend.  Ray de Aragon (who is now in his 50s) got the photo from his father as a 16th birthday gift.  He said the tintype is in a safe deposit box and he has no plans to sell it.

     Thomas Kyle of Los Alamos, a former government intelligence specialist, said his computer analysis of the two images shows combined facial and physical characteristics that would exist only once in 1.8 million people.  Western historian and Billy the Kid authority Robert Utley of Moose, Wyoming, said unless someone can prove otherwise, he will accept he portrait as genuine.

     The Lincoln Heritage Trust, which owns the original Billy the Kid photo, wants more testing before accepting or rejecting the picture.  The group that promise historical, cultural and environmental preservation in Lincoln County where Billy the Kid was a cattle rustler began searching for other pictures in 1988.  They claim they didn't start this to prove we had the only photo of Billy the Kid; but instead, to see if there are other photos of Billy the Kid.

     Kyle said he found close similarity in "circular-shaped ears with free swinging lobes," a long chin, a straight nose with unflared nostrils, the sloped shoulders, the long neck and the hands.  He also said he never expected to see Billy the Kid wearing a suit.  The man in the de Aragon photo is wearing a dark jacket and a white shirt.

     What do you think? . . . . . Who knows!!!!???

(Reprinted from The Orange County Register)