Clipped From The Miami News

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 - car my garage Then I bring them here on my way...
car my garage Then I bring them here on my way to work." lie prepares infants by wrapping the bodies in cotton, then soaking them in 16 ounces of formaldehyde. He then lays each one in a box that Reed, also a cabinetmaker, makes himself. "They're really just miscarriages. miscarriages. he said. "Only about one out of a hundred mothers ever request to see them. The small one today weighed less than a pound, the other was about a pound and a half." Reed speaks matter-of-factly. matter-of-factly. matter-of-factly. matter-of-factly. matter-of-factly. At 73. he has been in the mortuary business for 39 years If you count his apprenticeship as a youth. Death Is his business. He looks at you looking at him, at what appears to be the face of a man friendly with his bottle. This is not the case. His face and neck have been ravaged by skin and other kinds of cancer. In the past year, 52 cancers, most malignant, have been removed from his body. Ile manages manages through his days on doses of codeine and Valium. "You should have seen me a few months ago." he said, smiling again. "I really looked bad. People would back away." He looks past you at what Sharli Gaenssien. coordinator of MetroDade's MetroDade's indigent burial program. re Workers settle casket in unmarked grave fers to as "potter's field." "You know," he said, staring at the four open burial trenches in the center of the grove, "I don't know how much longer I've got to live." The only thing he knew for sure was that he wouldn't be buried there. It had been cloudy, and the clouds were darkening. At 9:15 cm., a white van pulled In behind Reed's vehicle, followed by another station wagon. Bob Healy, a director for Florida Mortuary, eased his rangy frame from the station wagon. Blond and 30, somewhat dashing with his red mustache, Healy joined Reed in a speculation about the weather. They wondered aloud if it was raining to the north, where the stockade was, and if that was causing causing the Metro-Dade Metro-Dade Metro-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation officer and his inmate inmate crew, who drew the assignment assignment of helping lower the bodies into the graves, to cancel for the day. As they discussed this, a lone particle particle board casket rested in the rear of the van. Inside were the remains of a white male. 58, a denizen of the Miami streets who had died Jan. 31 of a heart condition after a 24-day 24-day 24-day stay at Jackson. His body had been refrigerated at the mortuary for the last 22 days as Healy tried to find someone to claim the remains, to take the responsibility responsibility of providing a private burial in a regular cemetery. Had he been successful, the profit would have been greater. The rules in Dade County about this sort of thing are set by the Dade County Probate Court. Funeral Funeral homes participating on a rotating basis with the Indigent Burial Program Program are allowed a reasonable time to find a more profitable way to dispose of adult remains. If they fail, they must prepare the body for burial and deliver it to the county cemetery for a flat sum of $175. Or, if they can find someone to sign for the remains, they are paid an extra $50 by the county to cremate cremate the remains, thus saving a county grave space. Or. if they can find an estate left by the individual that is not tied up in trust. they can get as much as $1,500 from that estate, and more if the estate is substantial and they care to use their lawyers to fight for the extra money. that never stop coming in. Dade County has more than five other future sites for such burials in the southern area, some as far as Homestead. Gaensslen and the county have been trying to institute a cremation program for indigents, such as Los Angeles has had for the past 22 years. It would save money and space, and would be a cleaner operation, too, she says. But Florida has a state law that says you can't do that unless someone someone signs for the deceased. And one of the problems with that is if you're a friend and sign for your friend's cremation. that makes you responsible and liable. And if a member of the indigent's family then comes along and doesn't like what has happened. they can sue whoever signed. So few sign. The Dade County Medical Examiner's office has the authority, Gaensslen says, but, fearing fearing lawsuits, doesn't. Thus the extra graveyard sites. "We will always have to dispose of bodies somewhere," Gaensslen said. "because of some people's existing fear of the hellfire-and-damnation hellfire-and-damnation hellfire-and-damnation hellfire-and-damnation hellfire-and-damnation aspect they conceive of cremation." The main reason Sharli Gaensslen's Gaensslen's job exists is that there is no law in Florida requiring anyone to bury anyone. She said that before Plioas see BURIAL, 20

Clipped from
  1. The Miami News,
  2. 27 Feb 1984, Mon,
  3. Main Edition,
  4. Page 9

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