Uvalde gunman Salvador Ramos' body went unclaimed for WEEKS as funeral homes refused to cremate it
UVALDE, TEXAS: Three months after one of the most shocking mass shootings ever, the tragedy at Robb Elementary School still hurts like a fresh wound for grieving families. The perpetrator, Salvador Ramos, killed 19 fourth-graders and two of their teachers and was later also shot dead by police. Now they say Ramos' body went unclaimed for three and a half weeks after local funeral homes refused to take him in. The reason for this refusal was that they did not want to cause more suffering to the grieving families by taking in the murderer where their own children lay.
The 18-year-old mass murderer was eventually cremated nearly a month after the massacre at Robb Elementary School in San Antonio, which is 83 miles from Uvalde. Taylor Michelle Massey, senior funeral director at Rushing-Estes-Knowles, told the Houston Chronicle, "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. 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."
Before the incident, Ramos also shot his grandmother Celia Martinez Gonzales, 66, in the face, which she miraculously survived. Both Rushing-Estes-Knowles and Hillcrest Memorial have been overly busy attending to the funerals of Ramos' victims. Taylor Michelle Massey continued, "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."
Who kept the body of Salvador Ramos?
The body, unclaimed for nearly a month, was kept by Eulalio "Lalo" Diaz Jr who is a justice of the peace in Uvalde County and serves as the de facto coroner. He told the Houston Chronicle that the Bexar County coroner performed an autopsy on Ramos' body three days after the attack. But Diaz was left on his own after the autopsy to find a place to keep the body. He said, "Once they got to him, the funeral homes in town said, "We don't want to deal with him." I had to store him for three weeks. As the funerals for the victims were going on, I was still dealing with what to do with him. It was a stressful time." He then struck a deal with a facility in Lockhart, 165 miles away.
Diaz also told the Chronicle that it could take nearly a year for the Bexar County coroner to complete autopsy reports for Ramos and his 21 victims, which is a lot of work. He also explained that Ramos' relatives were fighting among themselves over the claim to the body, which complicated the entire process. According to Ramos' death reports, he was cremated at Crown Cremation Center on the western edge of downtown San Antonio, and funeral arrangements were handled by Castle Ridge in Crystal City, 40 miles south of Uvalde.