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The Latest: Dali's claimed daughter relieved but nervous

Associated Press logo Associated Press 7/20/2017 By HERNAN MUNOZ and ARITZ PARRA, Associated Press
In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Pilar Abel, poses for a photograph after a news conference in Madrid, where she claimed to be the daughter of eccentric artist Salvador Dali. 61-year old tarot card reader, Abel claims that her mother had an affair with Salvador Dali while working as a domestic helper in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, where the artist was born and lived with his Russian wife Gala. After two decades of court battles, a Madrid judge granted Abel a DNA test to find out whether her allegations are true, and the exhumation is scheduled to begin Thursday night. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) © The Associated Press In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Pilar Abel, poses for a photograph after a news conference in Madrid, where she claimed to be the daughter of eccentric artist Salvador Dali. 61-year old tarot card reader, Abel claims that her mother had an affair with Salvador Dali while working as a domestic helper in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, where the artist was born and lived with his Russian wife Gala. After two decades of court battles, a Madrid judge granted Abel a DNA test to find out whether her allegations are true, and the exhumation is scheduled to begin Thursday night. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

FIGUERES, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the exhumation of Salvador Dali (all times local):

In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Pilar Abel, right, talks to journalists next to her lawyer Enrique Blanquez during a news conference in Madrid, where she claimed to be the daughter of eccentric artist Salvador Dali. 61-year old Abel claims that her mother had an affair with Salvador Dali while working as a domestic helper in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, where the artist was born and lived with his Russian wife Gala. After two decades of court battles, a Madrid judge granted Abel a DNA test to find out whether her allegations are true, and the exhumation is scheduled to begin Thursday night.(AP Photo/Francisco Seco) © The Associated Press In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Pilar Abel, right, talks to journalists next to her lawyer Enrique Blanquez during a news conference in Madrid, where she claimed to be the daughter of eccentric artist Salvador Dali. 61-year old Abel claims that her mother had an affair with Salvador Dali while working as a domestic helper in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, where the artist was born and lived with his Russian wife Gala. After two decades of court battles, a Madrid judge granted Abel a DNA test to find out whether her allegations are true, and the exhumation is scheduled to begin Thursday night.(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

11:50 p.m.

In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Pilar Abel, right, talks to journalists next to her lawyer Enrique Blanquez during a news conference in Madrid, where she claimed to be the daughter of eccentric artist Salvador Dali. 61-year old Abel claims that her mother had an affair with Salvador Dali while working as a domestic helper in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, where the artist was born and lived with his Russian wife Gala. After two decades of court battles, a Madrid judge granted Abel a DNA test to find out whether her allegations are true, and the exhumation is scheduled to begin Thursday night.(AP Photo/Francisco Seco) © The Associated Press In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Pilar Abel, right, talks to journalists next to her lawyer Enrique Blanquez during a news conference in Madrid, where she claimed to be the daughter of eccentric artist Salvador Dali. 61-year old Abel claims that her mother had an affair with Salvador Dali while working as a domestic helper in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, where the artist was born and lived with his Russian wife Gala. After two decades of court battles, a Madrid judge granted Abel a DNA test to find out whether her allegations are true, and the exhumation is scheduled to begin Thursday night.(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

The Spanish woman who claims to be Salvador Dali's daughter is relieved but nervous as forensic experts remove the artists' body from a crypt where it laid for 27 years, her lawyer says.

Workers bring a casket to the Dali Theater Museum in Figueres, Spain, Thursday, July 20, 2017. Salvador Dali's eccentric artistic and personal history took yet another bizarre turn Thursday with the exhumation of his embalmed remains in order to find genetic samples that could settle whether one of the founding figures of surrealism fathered a daughter decades ago. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) © The Associated Press Workers bring a casket to the Dali Theater Museum in Figueres, Spain, Thursday, July 20, 2017. Salvador Dali's eccentric artistic and personal history took yet another bizarre turn Thursday with the exhumation of his embalmed remains in order to find genetic samples that could settle whether one of the founding figures of surrealism fathered a daughter decades ago. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Enrique Blanquez says that Pilar Abel "is nervous and hopeful" as the DNA test ordered by a judge should allow "99 percent of chances of knowing the truth."

Workers close the door of the Theater Museum as a casket is taken in, in Figueres, Spain, Thursday, July 20, 2017. Salvador Dali's eccentric artistic and personal history took yet another bizarre turn Thursday with the exhumation of his embalmed remains in order to find genetic samples that could settle whether one of the founding figures of surrealism fathered a daughter decades ago. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) © The Associated Press Workers close the door of the Theater Museum as a casket is taken in, in Figueres, Spain, Thursday, July 20, 2017. Salvador Dali's eccentric artistic and personal history took yet another bizarre turn Thursday with the exhumation of his embalmed remains in order to find genetic samples that could settle whether one of the founding figures of surrealism fathered a daughter decades ago. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

"These tests will be a relief for her because all doubts will disappear," the attorney told reporters.

Abel, who for a while made her living by reading tarot cards on local television, was born 61 years ago in Girona. The city is close to Figueres, the birthplace of Dali and where his body is interred.

She has prompted the exhumation because she wants legal proof that the artist was her biological father after an alleged affair between her mother and Dali.

If proved right, she could claim one fourth of the painter's estate which is now in the hands of a public foundation, Blanquez said.

During a press conference this week, Abel explained how her mother and grandmother told the family secret when Abel was still young. Years later, she confronted the mother by asking: "Is Dali really my father? Because he was a little bit ugly."

"Well, he had a certain thing about him,"Abel says that her mother replied. "Yes, he is your father."

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11 p.m.

A court spokeswoman says that forensic experts have opened Salvador Dali's coffin to obtain DNA samples that could help settle a paternity lawsuit.

The coffin was opened half an hour after it was lifted from the crypt where Dali's remains have been for the past 27 years, the official with the court administration in northeastern Spain's Catalonia said in an emailed statement. She made the comments anonymously in line with internal rules.

A committee of judges, corners and technicians immediately started working to obtain biological samples that could shed light on whether a 61-year-old tarot card reader, Pilar Abel, is, as she claims, Dali's daughter.

Only five people are handling this part of the process, the official said, in order to reduce the risk of contaminating the DNA samples.

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8:50 p.m.

A forensic team has entered the Salvador Dali museum in northeastern Spain where the surrealist artist's remains are due to be exhumed to settle a paternity claim brought by a 61- year-old woman.

Tarot card reader Pilar Abel says her mother had an affair with Dali while working as a domestic helper in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres. A judge granted the exhumation last month to conduct a DNA test.

Four people carrying a coffin entered the Dali Theater Museum on Thursday, one hour after doors closed to visitors.

Technicians need to install a pulley system on scaffolding in order to lift a 1.5-ton stone slab that covers the crypt where painter's embalmed body was interred 27 years ago.

A marquee will also be installed under the museum's glass dome to prevent any photography or video of the process, even from drones.

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7:10 p.m.

Salvador Dali's eccentric artistic and personal biography is taking yet another bizarre turn with the exhumation of his embalmed remains in order to find genetic samples that could settle whether one of the founding figures of surrealism fathered a girl.

Pilar Abel, a 61-year-old tarot card reader, claims that her mother had an affair with Dali while working as a domestic helper in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, where the artist was born and had moved back to with his Russian wife Gala.

After two decades of court battles, a Madrid judge last month granted Abel a DNA test to find out whether her allegations are true. The exhumation begins Thursday night.

Abel says a desire to honor her mother's memory, and not money, were motivating her paternity lawsuit.

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AP correspondent Aritz Parra contributed from Madrid

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