New hope for grieving families as lawmakers reintroduce a bill that would change the law surrounding the cremation and burial of adult children

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 9:12 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - There’s new hope for a grieving mother who continues to fight to help other families after the loss of a child.

We first told last year you about her mission to change Ohio law.

As the law stands now, when someone’s adult child passes, the body is included as part of the estate.

For that reason, funeral homes have to get any living biological parents to sign off on plans for the body, no matter how involved the parent was in the child’s life.

For the third year in a row, Cathy Morrison is petitioning state legislators to change Ohio law, hoping other families don’t have to suffer what she did.

“If I can help somebody not go through the pain I’m going to do it,” she said.

Her daughter Candice died from complications from knee surgery nearly four years ago.

Morrison came to 19 Investigates after the funeral home told her it needed Candice’s estranged father to sign off on cremation.

“I was like he hasn’t seen her in ten years. I don’t know where he’s at, “she said. “And, it didn’t matter. I still had to find him.”

The process of finding him delayed Candice’s funeral and the closure Morrison was so desperately looking for.

Now, Representative Tavia Galonski reintroducing a bill inspired by Morrison’s experience.

“Just hearing her talk about it was hard enough, but as you know, I’ve been introducing this bill for several general assemblies now,” Galonski said.

Galonski is proposing a change to the law that would make the guardian who had custody of the child when they became an adult the sole decision maker should a tragedy occur.

“This is happening all over Ohio, and unfortunately how could we have known that all these deaths would happen this year during a pandemic, " Galonski said.

The last two years Galonski brought up the measure, session ran out before representatives voted on it.

“It’s just very frustrating that these people aren’t moved by the pain we are going through,” Morrison said.

Morrison hopes the legislation gets somewhere this year, now that it’s back up for discussion once again.

“I am tired of people going through the pain I went through,” she said.

The representative proposing this bill says it is specifically related to adult children, because the law regarding the death of a minor is already very well detailed as to who has what decision making rights.

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