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Unclaimed by family, daredevil's remains get final resting spot near Niagara Falls

Posted at 2:05 PM, Dec 21, 2020

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Since the 1800s, many daredevils have tried to conquer Niagara Falls in a variety of ways.

While some had success, like Nick Wallenda who walked across the Falls on a tightrope in 2012, others did not survive.

Kirk Jones is one of those who died in his attempt.

Jones got notoriety in 2003 when he survived a jump over the Horseshoe Falls wearing no protective equipment.

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Kirk Jones after surviving a plunge over the Horseshoe Falls in 2003 with no protective equipment.

He then tried to go over a second time in 2017 while riding inside an 8-foot plastic ball and carrying his pet boa constrictor named "Misty."

Authorities never found the snake, but they did recover the ball and Jones' body from the lower Niagara River.

A drone was also recovered on Goat Island that was apparently supposed to record Jones' daredevil stunt since he was wearing a special wrist controller. Video from the drone failed to show anything but rushing water.

The plastic ball recovered in the lower Niagara River that Kirk Jones intended to ride over Niagara Falls while holding his pet boa constrictor named "Misty." Jones' body was found months later in the lower river. It is unknown if Jones ever successfully got into the ball with the snake or if he fell out of it into the water.

"Kirk is definitely a part of Niagara Falls lore," said Tim Baxter, Director of Operations for the Oakwood Cemetery on Portage Road in the City of Niagara Falls.

It turned out that Jones' family had no interest in claiming his remains, so they remained frozen in the Erie County Morgue (which works with Niagara County) and were eventually transferred to the Taylor & Reynolds Funeral Home in Lockport.

It was then that Baxter started coordinating with the Oakwood Cemetery board about having Jones' buried in the historic cemetery alongside five other Niagara daredevils already interred there.

"The poor guy. What a way to end his life. No one should just be left frozen in the morgue or whatever," added Baxter.

Oakwood had previously taken the remains of daredevils who died penniless such as Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel and live in 1901, and Carlisle Graham her competitor.

After a couple of years of work, Kirk Jones' remains are now placed into a donated plot with a headstone near several other Niagara daredevils and stunters.

For Tim Baxter, it is satisfaction knowing that the six daredevils will be together for all eternity as they are part of the Niagara Falls legacy.

"I am just proud to be part of Oakwood Cemetery which provided them space so they will be remembered," commented Baxter.

This story was reported by Ed Reilly at WKBW in Buffalo, New York.