OKC Family Upset With Lack Of Information From ME's Office

Wednesday, August 1st 2012, 7:55 pm
By: News 9

An Oklahoma City family is hot over the way the medical examiner's office is treating them and their quest for information. They say a body, believed to be their loved one, was found 3 weeks ago. But the ME still hasn't made a positive I.D.

All this family wants is to bury their loved one, but that can't happen until his body is identified.

Pascual Salazar has been missing since May 23. His family posted his picture on both Facebook and billboards hoping for some answers. When a body was found a mile from the family's property near Norman last month, they thought they would finally get that. It's now been three weeks and they are still waiting.

"We have the sadness. We have the depression. We have the frustration," said Veronica Salazar.

Veronica Salazar is Pasqual's niece. She says the family is tired of waiting and just wants some closure.

"All we want to do is lay him to rest and it's a big old question mark," said Veronica.

7/10/12 Related Story: Family: Missing Cleveland County Man Found Dead

The body in question was taken to the medical examiner's office, where it sits to this day.

"We just don't know what to do about the medical examiner's office. We don't even know if they've got to his body yet. They haven't let us know any kind of information," Veronica said.

But the medical examiner's office says that's not true. They say they have made contact, but don't have much to tell the family right now.

"We understand they are grieving and want to know why their loved one died, and is it them, and we do the best we can," said Family Assistance Coordinator, Eddie Johnson.

The ME's office confirms almost a dozen families like the Salazars waiting for answers. But they say they are waiting too, since some of their DNA and other tests can take months, even up to a year, to complete.

7/6/2012 Related Story: Cleveland County Sheriff's Deputies Still Looking For Missing Man

"Part of our job is not only to identify these remains and return them to their family, but if something has happened to them we need to pursue a perpetrator," said Angela Berg, and anthropologist with the ME's office.

The family says they just want more communication.

"Give us something, anything, any kind of information even if it's just one thing," Veronica said.

"Unfortunately, I can't release information to them if I don't know who this individual is," said Berg.

The family is considering filing a complaint and is also considering hiring a lawyer to try to get more information about the investigation.

The ME's office tells News 9 they have also had to work with the Department of Homeland Security in this case, since Salazar was from Mexico and many of his medical records that could help with the identification process are in that country.

5/29/2012 Related Story: Cleveland County Sheriff's Deputies Search For Missing Noble Man