Woman's husband's remains released without her consent

CROSBY, Texas - A break-down in communication or a lost body? A Crosby woman grieving the sudden death of her husband claims the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences released her husband's remains without her permission, and then couldn't tell her where he was.

Brandon St. Andre, 36, took his own life earlier this month. Mrs. St. Andre said what happened next shouldn't happen to any family. "Someone dropped the ball and lost my husband," said Shavon St. Andre.

St. Andre said in the five days following her husband's death, she called the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences daily to ask about her husband's autopsy and status of his remains.

She said every time she called, she was told his remains weren't ready for release. But on Friday, June 14, she was told his remains had been released two days earlier. "You don't do that to someone. The day before, you said he was here and then you say you don't know where my husband is?" said St. Andre.

Later that day, Mrs. St. Andre learned her husband's remains were already at Carnes Funeral Home, which handles bereavement services in Harris County for those who are unable to pay.

"It sounds like there may have been a misunderstanding of the different roles each agency is playing in this matter," said Tricia Bentley with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

Bentley said the authorization to release the remains came from the county's Social Services department on June 12. Bentley said after families connect with bereavement services, that agency usually handles the rest of the communications with the families of the deceased.

Mrs. St. Andre said all the confusion has led to a delay in her husband's funeral services. He died June 9 and funeral services weren't set until Tuesday, June 25.

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