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"South Fort Myers resident a witness to tragic history" (JIM SIBERT)

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South Fort Myers resident a witness to tragic history

As FBI agent, Lee County man attended JFK autopsy

By GLENN MILLER • gmiller@news-press.com • November 21, 2009

South Fort Myers resident Jim Sibert has answered the questions for

46 years, ever since the night the FBI special agent observed the

autopsy of President John F. Kennedy.

Over the years, Sibert, 91, has been interviewed for books. When the

other FBI agent who witnessed the autopsy, Francis X. O'Neill, died

earlier this year in Cape Cod, Mass., Sibert was quoted in a Boston

Globe obituary of O'Neill.

The calls and questions keep coming from teachers, authors and


"He told me a couple of years ago that he was never going to be

interviewed again," said Paul Mitchell, one of Sibert's neighbors at

the Cypress Cove retirement community on the grounds of HealthPark

Medical Center.

Sibert can't always say no. He has a story to share. Theories and

debates on conspiracies and motives and alleged cover-ups fill

bookshelves and bop around the Internet. Sibert doubts any secrets

remain to be unearthed.

"After 46 years," Sibert said, "there couldn't be."

Now, as Sunday's anniversary of the assassination approaches, Sibert

is being asked again about that historic day, Nov. 22, 1963.

"It started out like a normal day," Sibert said.

At the time, Sibert was a 45-year-old FBI special agent stationed in

Maryland and only a year younger than Kennedy. Late in the day, the

president of the United States was dead in front of him with a hole

in his head.

"It was a piece blown out of the skull," Sibert said.

Sibert and O'Neill met the casket at Andrews Air Force Base and

accompanied it to Bethesda Naval Hospital. They were assigned to

watch the autopsy, stay with the body and, as Sibert and O'Neill

noted in a report dictated four days after the examination, "to

obtain bullets reportedly in the President's body."

When Kennedy's body was removed from its casket and white sheets were

unwrapped from him, Sibert recalls how the sheet around his head was


"His eyes were fixed open," Sibert recalled.

No clothing came with the slain president. The suit Kennedy wore in

the open-topped limousine had been cut off in Dallas, where he was

gunned down.

Conspiracy theories

What happened in Dallas that day remains contested with factions

still debating whether Lee Harvey Oswald was the only shooter or if

he was part of a wide-ranging conspiracy.

"I don't buy the single-bullet theory," Sibert said, "I won't go as

far as to say there was no conspiracy."

Sibert and O'Neill's report, titled "Autopsy of Body of President

John Fitzgerald Kennedy," stated that Commander James J. Humes, who

conducted the autopsy, noted another wound.

"During the latter stages of this autopsy, Dr. Humes located an

opening which appeared to be a bullet hole which was below the

shoulders and two inches to the right of the middle line of the

spinal column," Sibert and O'Neill reported.

Sibert won't guess on possible conspirators, on who else may have

shot Kennedy other than Oswald.

"I wouldn't have any way of knowing," Sibert said. "See, that's

another thing. All my work was in Bethesda, Maryland."

The FBI, Sibert said, had no jurisdiction in the investigation. The

FBI Web site notes that "when President Kennedy was assassinated, the

crime was a local homicide; no federal law addressed the murder of a


During the autopsy, Sibert couldn't let the magnitude of the event

overwhelm his duty.

"You just kind of think, 'This happened to the president of the

United States,'" Sibert said.

Until the president's murder, Sibert had observed only two other

autopsies in his career.

One was of a little kidnapped boy. The other was on the wife of an

FBI clerk who had died unexpectedly. That autopsy was held to make

sure there had been no foul play.

Sibert recalls the somber atmosphere during the president's autopsy.

"There wasn't any joking," Sibert said. "No comic remarks made."

The experience, Sibert said, didn't change him profoundly.

But every now and then he gets calls from people who are still

curious. There are also the memories of the history he witnessed.

"The other thing was the ferocity of the wounds," Sibert said.

"That's tough. I never had nightmares, but it's something that

flashes through my mind a lot of times."

Still, he's not obsessed with what he saw or what may have been

behind the assassination.

"I don't think about it every day," Sibert said. "Generally, when

something comes up, an article in the paper, something about the

assassination, somebody wants to know about it. It's just another

incident in your bureau career that you handled the best you could."

Sibert continued with the FBI until 1972, handling criminal cases.

Now, the former World War II bomber pilot and FBI agent is a widower

who plays cards Friday evenings with Cypress Cove neighbors.

"Jim is a wonderful man," said neighbor and card player Elsie

Thomas. "He's very interesting. Very knowledgeable. And he likes to

talk about his time as an FBI man."


Best Regards in Research,


Don Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, "Big John," Plank Walker

Sooner, or later, The Truth emerges Clearly

For your considerations....

Homepage: President JOHN F. KENNEDY "Men of Courage" speech, and Outstanding Assassination Researchers & Discoveries Links

Visual Report: The First JFK Impact: While JFK was "Hidden Under the 'magic-limbed-ricochet-tree': Z-188, then, Z-203 to 206"

Discovery: Very Close JFK Assassination Witness ROSEMARY WILLIS Zapruder Film Documented 2nd Headsnap:

West, Ultrafast, and Directly Towards the Grassy Knoll

Dealey Plaza Map: Detailing 11-22-63 Victims precise kill zone locations,

Witnesses, Films & Photos, Evidence, Suspects & suspected bullet trajectories, & Important

information & Considerations

Visual File: JFK Assassination Research, Maps, & Discoveries for Your Considerations

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore


National Terror Alert for the United States:



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"The ferocity of the wounds." Sometimes it seems as if the entire next decade blew out of them.

There's no match for the pungency of some descriptions by eyewitnesses to traumatic events. Often the least rehearsed impressions are invaluable.

Since the back and throat wounds were somewhat small - does the plural indicate an occipital crater?

Edited by David Andrews
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