April 2, 2005 in Nation/World

Terri Schiavo’s autopsy complete; families arrange separate funerals

Vickie Chachere Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. – A medical examiner completed the autopsy of Terri Schiavo on Friday, clearing the way for the release of the body to her husband, who plans to cremate her remains and bury the ashes without telling his in-laws when or where.

Results of the autopsy may not be released for several weeks, the medical examiner’s office said. Husband Michael Schiavo hopes the autopsy will settle questions about her medical condition, but experts differ on whether that will happen.

Michael Schiavo and his in-laws spent Friday planning separate funerals for the 41-year-old woman, who died Thursday.

Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have scheduled a funeral Mass for Tuesday in nearby Gulfport. The Mass will be preceded by a gathering for people to express their condolences.

Michael Schiavo’s family has said he plans to take the cremated remains to Pennsylvania, where she grew up, but her parents want to bury her in Florida so her parents and siblings can visit her grave.

Terri Schiavo had been the center of a long legal battle over whether she would have wanted to be kept alive with a feeding tube for 15 years after suffering a devastating brain injury.

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