Adoptive grandmother confronts ME over autopsy

Adoptive grandmother confronts ME over autopsy

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Five months ago, on September 15, an adoptive grandmother was coping with the loss of her 10-year-old granddaughter. Now she wonders where the remains of her deceased adoptive daughter are. 

Rebecca Villarreal lost Elaina after a lifetime of medical challenges. At 5 months old, Elaina suffered shaken baby syndrome, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, scoliosis and was legally blind.

Elaina went to the hospital during an episode. Villarreal said and her family was faced with the decision to take her off life support. 

Villarreal said she was told the child would need an autopsy by the Lubbock County Medical Examiner's Office. After receiving the written medical instructions regarding the autopsy, the family was disgusted on how the office justified the procedure. 

"They took my baby apart, and they get away with it," Villarreal said. 

Villarreal did not know the extent of this procedure, but a letter obtained by FOX34 shows instructions from Medical Examiner Sam Andrews to remove seven different body parts of the child's body, including organs. 

"He took her eyes, her heart, her lungs, her spinal cord, half her brain, half her fractured skull, why?," Villarreal asked. "So my granddaughter is in jars, in some room, on some shelf."

Villarreal, with no answers, decided to look for them on her own. Villarreal met with an employee with NAAG for half an hour. She said when she asked why she was not asked for permission to remove all the body parts or to sign anything, the employee simply said, it was not necessary.

She was told Eliana's autopsy would be ready soon, but wasn't given a specific time period.The family is now looking into legal action and hoping Lubbock County holds the ME's office accountable.

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