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Funeral Dispute Puts Body In Limbo

March 21, 2002

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) _ A hospital asked a probate court Wednesday to rule on what it should do with the body of a woman who insisted that no funeral home assist in her burial.

Ruth Elaine Goss, 65, died March 1, apparently of a bleeding ulcer. Since then, her body has remained in the morgue of the Baraga County Memorial Hospital. In keeping with her wishes, Goss’ son has refused to hire a funeral director.

But the hospital says it cannot legally release the body until a death certificate is filed, and the county clerk says that under state law it cannot be filed without a funeral director’s signature.

The hospital ``is unfortunately caught in the middle,″ said its attorney, Rick Kroeger.

A court hearing was scheduled for April 4.

Ty Goss says his mother told him repeatedly she did not want a funeral home because it was a waste of money. He said he took a casket to the hospital, hoping to retrieve his mother’s body, but was turned away.

``I’m doing God’s work ... I’m doing what my mother wanted me to do,″ he said.

Goss said funeral directors wouldn’t sign the papers unless hired. He said he wants to bury his mother on his land and is taking steps to establish a private cemetery.

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