Unclaimed body spent more than a month in funeral home

MADISONVILLE, TEXAS (WCNC) – Madison County officials are looking into revising one of their policies after a deceased man’s body spent more than a month in a funeral home.

The 72-year-old man’s body was found in a rural part of the county in February and brought to the Madisonville Funeral Home.

Authorities looked for the man’s family, but the search turned up empty.

“None was found. We couldn’t find any evidence of any family that knew who he was or what he was doing here,” said Madison County Judge Butch McDaniel.

With the lack of family ties, the next step was figuring out what to do with the body. Officials originally believed a county ordinance said the body must be offered up for science.

“We sent off a request to see if any of the state agencies wanted the body for parts or what ever they do with them,” said McDaniel.

An employee at the Madisonville Funeral Home said the body was sent to another funeral home in Centerville and kept in a cooler for more than a month.

Judge McDaniel says the county was waiting on the state.

“We were waiting on a reply from them and we didn’t get any response,” he said.

County commissioners eventually approved $500 to cremate the body. However, a long-term solution is still needed.

“We’re going to revise our policy on how we want to deal with that.  Do we want to even offer it to the state, or if we do, we’ll set a time limit to wait for a response,” said McDaniel.

The Madison County Commissioners Court plans to double check the current ordinance to see if it says unclaimed bodies must be offered up to science before they are cremated.

If so, Judge McDaniel says the commissioners may consider adopting a two-week deadline to hear back from the state before disposing of a body.

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