Family waits nearly two weeks for OMI to release loved one’s body

Posted at: 07/30/2014 5:53 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It’s been 12 days since a New Mexico family lost two loved ones, allegedly killed by a suspected drunk driver. And if that isn’t devastating enough, the family still can’t plan a funeral to bury the mother and daughter.

Priscilla Mungia and her daughter Viviana were always together. On July 18th, they were driving on the Lovington Highway outside of Hobbs when a suspected drunk driver hit them head on.

The family wants them to be buried together, next to Priscilla’s mom, who was also killed by a suspected drunk driver, but there’s a problem. They’re still waiting on Viviana’s body to be released from the Medical Examiner.    

"They keep on saying it's going to tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow never comes," said Viviana’s Aunt Evelyn Leyba.

The Office of the Medical Investigator had to identify Viviana through dental records, but that was 12 days ago.

"We've been told that they keep doing more tests and more tests but they cannot clarify on what the tests are, they cannot give us any straight answers," said Leyba.

An employee at the Albuquerque Office of the Medical Examiner says the doctor working with Viviana is out of town, and that trip is taking longer than expected. Another doctor is taking over in his absence.

Officials say Viviana has been identified, but is being held for further testing, but they wouldn’t say why.

“Then they said they had to do DNA testing, we said ok,” said Leyba. “Now they are saying they have to do organ testing, we never okayed to that. We're still waiting, now they can't explain it."

The family just wants answers.

“Our understanding was you have to do your testing, you do your autopsy, you send the body back,” said Leyba. “We didn't tell them they could keep the body until they decided they're done."

But most of all, they want her back.

"It is devastating, it is horrible to think that our baby is sitting over there treated like nothing,” said Leyba. “She's not even being treated like a human being, basically she is just clinical testing for them. She is our loved baby, that is our baby."

To be buried with her mother.

"We're waiting to do the burial together because they died together, we want to keep them together," said Leyba.

The family says OMI is releasing Viviana’s body around 11:00pm Wednesday night.