Stuck between State of Conn & funeral home: sisters can’t get mother’s cremated remains

(WTNH) — It’s going on three months that the Brendle family has not been able to bury their mother and put her to rest. They are caught between the funeral home and the State of Connecticut. News 8 went looking for answers.

“We grieve every day but we can’t put closure to it.”

Judy Brendle and her sister Caren are trying to find closure after their mother passed away last June. Caren says she had a half a dozen strokes and was confined to a wheelchair for the last four years of her life in a state-assisted living facility.

“She couldn’t talk. She couldn’t move the right side of her body and they would stick her in a chair in the hallway and that is where she spent her day.”

Their mother passed nearly 3 months ago and was cremated, but the funeral home won’t release her remains until the state pays. Judy Brendle says they are stuck in limbo.

“I have called an attorney and he says legally there is nothing we can do, and I have called so many people, I don’t even know who anymore.”

We talked to the funeral home about it and they say the Brendle family is not alone. They have several cases that are pending, waiting for the state investigation. They say they’re stuck in the middle, while the state slowly grinds forward.

We did call the Department of Social Services and they say they will launch an investigation. The way it works is when somebody is on Title 19 state aid when they die, the state has to investigate to make sure the estate doesn’t have money for cremation. It can take a couple of weeks, in some cases a month and they said they would get to the bottom of it. Judy says it is taking too long.

“There is enough money in the account to pay them so if the state had taken that money right away, all this would be done. It would be paid for because we as a family don’t have the money, otherwise we would do it.”

In fairness to the state, we didn’t call Department of Social Services about this until 4 p.m. and they need time to perform the investigation, but they said they would most likely have something for us on Wednesday.

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