The body of Texas school shooter Salvador Ramos languished for nearly a month in the morgue as his family squabbled over who was responsible — and Uvalde’s funeral homes refused to deal with him.
However, Uvalde’s two funeral homes refused to touch him — and Ramos’ remains were eventually stored 150 miles away in a morgue in Lockhart, Uvalde’s defacto coroner, Eulalio “Lalo” Diaz Jr., told the Houston Chronicle.
“Once they got to him, the funeral homes in town said, ‘We don’t want to deal with him,’” said Diaz, a Justice of the Peace also overwhelmed dealing with the deaths of immigrants in a human-smuggling horror in June.
“As the funerals for the victims were going on, I was still dealing with what to do with him. It was a stressful time.”
At the same time, Ramos’ troubled, splintered family also squabbled over his remains, Diaz said. The deranged teen had been living with his grandparents, and had shot his 66-year-old grandmother Celia Martinez Gonzales — who survived — before starting his school slaughter.
“It took three, three and a half weeks to get him released to the family,” Diaz told the Chronicle. “They were fighting with each other.”
Eventually, Castle Ridge in Crystal City — at least 40 miles outside of Uvalde — handled Ramos’ funeral arrangements.
Ramos was eventually cremated even further away, in a nondescript building on the edge of downtown San Antonio, more than 80 miles outside of Uvalde, the Houston paper noted, without giving an exact date.
The managing funeral director at one of Uvalde’s two funeral homes, Rushing-Estes-Knowles, confirmed that they refused to arrange a service for Ramos.
“All of our staff grew up in Uvalde County and attended school in Uvalde County and believe that everyone deserves a dignified and respectful funeral service,” Taylor Michelle Massey told the paper.
“However, in the weeks following the shootings of May 24th, we were caring for 17 families … through what is probably the most difficult time in their lives,” she said.
“Under the circumstance, we did not feel it would be appropriate or in the best interest of the families for which we were caring to take custody of the remains of the individual that caused their pain.”
It could take up to a year for complete autopsy reports to be completed for Ramos and his 21 victims, Diaz said — partly because the Bexar County medical examiner also has to conduct 53 autopsies for the immigrants who died while being smuggled in a tractor-trailer in late June.
“That’s 75 extra people added to their normal workload,” Diaz said. “We’re three months in, and all I’ve got is the preliminary reports.”
The Robb elementary slaughter was the second-deadliest school shooting in US history.
Multiple investigations are still examining the disastrous police response which saw cops waiting more than an hour to finally gun down Ramos as parents desperately tried to storm in themselves.