13 Investigates


Woman's body left in limbo after signature confusion

Posted at 4:14 PM, Feb 01, 2018

Joseph Castro says his wife of 26 years was the love of his life, for better, or for worse.

“We always joked, she was a very wonderful lady," said Castro. "I love her very dearly," he added.


Castro says his wife was stricken with cervical cancer in 2006. After intense rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, she was left bedridden for more than 10 years. Castro became her full time caregiver.


"Her legs were literally skin and bones, from a lack of movement. And I said babe, 'let's go to hospital," said Castro.

Julie refused to go to the hospital as her health began to deteriorate, according to Castro.

In December 2017, she finally relented and she was taken to Sunrise Hospital.

Julie was in multiple organ failure and there was nothing doctors could do.

"And she said baby, I got to go. I love you. I love you very much. Good-bye. And her heart just stopped in that moment," recalled Castro.

Castro says the pain of her passing was made worse by the ordeal that dragged on soon after.

"I didn't know what their procedures or their [standard operating procedure] or their protocol was, so I just waited," added Castro.

Julie's body was kept in limbo at a local mortuary after her death. Days stretched into weeks and eventually a moth and a half went by.

“Later on, as days passed by and I talked to people, family and friends, they said this was very unusual," said Castro.


Castro says he was given the runaround and no one would give a clear answer why there was a hold up for his wife's cremation.


Contact 13 tracked down the problem to a delayed death certificate from the hospital.


In general, here's how the process should have worked:

  • Doctor signs off on a death certificate

  • Hospital issues death certificate

  • Once issued, final preparations for cremation or burial are carried out

After Contact 13 tracked down the problem, Julie's final wishes were carried out and Castro was once again with the love of his life.


"45 days later, when I got the news that she was going to be finally cremated, I think God and I thank contact 13," said Castro.

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