- Associated Press - Thursday, April 5, 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 3,200-year-old mummy mask at the center of an international dispute will remain in St. Louis following a ruling by a federal judge.

The U.S. government sought to return the funeral mask of Lady Ka-Nefer-Nefer (kuh-NEHF’-ur-NEHF’-ur) to Egypt, claiming it had been stolen before the St. Louis Art Museum purchased it from a New York art dealer in 1998. But U.S. District Judge Henry Autry in St. Louis ruled on March 31 that the mask can remain with the art museum.

Autry says the government failed to prove that the mask was stolen. Museum officials say the mask’s ownership history was researched before the purchase and that there is no indication it was stolen.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan says the government hasn’t decided whether to appeal.