A Detroit family is searching for answers after discovering that their relative’s body had been at the Wayne County Morgue for almost a year. Her body was cremated without the family’s permission. She had been missing for seven months.
Natassia Meadows, 31, went missing from her grandmother’s house on October 13, 2019, according to Channel 4 News in Detroit. Four days later, her body was found on the west side of the city on Appoline. Meadows had been living in Romulus, a suburb 25 miles west of Detroit. Police used her identification to determine who she was, and an autopsy revealed she passed away from an accidental drug overdose. Her ID had the name, Natassia Smith.
According to the news outlet, the woman’s godmother, Dawn Snider, had filed a missing person’s report in Romulus. She had been living in Romulus with Snider. The 31-year-old was trying to get her life together and had been working on getting her GED and regaining custody of her children. She had been battling drug addiction.
Snider told Channel 4, “I went to Romulus, and I filed a missing persons report, I gave them pictures, everything.” Snider said.
Once she was listed as officially missing, Romulus contacted the Wayne County Morgue searching for Meadows.
Her mother, Marilyn Lewis, and Snider explained that Meadows used both last names, and they expressed that to the coroner’s office when they called in search of the woman’s body. The Wayne County Morgue told the women and Romulus police that the woman was not there.
With no word on where her daughter was, Lewis continuously took to social media, asking for help in the search.
In August last year, the woman, who resides in Kentucky, posted.
“You Will be missing a year October 13th. It’s like you just Disappeared off the face of Earth. Someone in Michigan knows something because no one just diapers without someone knowing something. I just wish they would just come forward and let your family know. Let the police know you are very much loved and missed. Please, if anyone Up there in Michigan knows anything. Please, please let the police or us her family know we want her back. I will never give up on finding you, my beautiful daughter. We love you, Natassia Meadows.
Records from the morgue indicated Meadows’ body was cremated in May 2020. After the state’s Inspector General contacted relatives over suspected food stamp fraud, her godmother disclosed that the woman had vanished without a trace.
Days later, the family was notified that Meadows was taken to Wayne County Morgue and cremated last year.
A spokesperson said, “Wayne County makes every reasonable attempt to identify next of kin, but sometimes it has no success in doing so.”
“All they’re saying is it’s an accident,” said Lewis. “I called the same morgue and got told she also went by Natasha Smith and she had tattoos. I told them all her tattoos. They said they didn’t have her.”
Dr. Carl Schmidt, the chief medical examiner, maintains the coroner’s office didn’t commit any wrongdoing.
“I think everything was done right … The woman in question was never in our database. She is identified as Natasha Smith. She has official state ID that says Natasha Smith,” As we know, they never offered the name, the name Natasha Smith.”
The morgue released an official statement.
““The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office followed protocol and procedures when attempting to locate the next of kin of a decedent identified in October 2019, through state-issued identification and police fingerprinting, as Natasha Smith. The fingerprints, which are a definitive form of identification, have no other names associated with them.
“The Medical Examiner’s Office conducted a search in the Michigan Department of Corrections system, as well as Google and the White Pages, in an attempt to locate family. An out-of-state relative was identified. However, no contact information was provided for the relative, and it was later determined that the relative was deceased. Despite our efforts, Ms. Smith remained unclaimed for seven months. To date, no one has offered proof of familial relationship with the decedent.
“Our staff received calls inquiring about a missing person with the name of Natassia Meadows and referencing tattoos of a female decedent. However, no decedent named Natassia Meadows was in our system, and the system is not configured to search for tattoos or distinctive markings. Until a familial relationship is proven and the decedent in question is identified as Natassia Meadow, Natasha Smith will continue to be the name of the decedent on record.
“It is always our goal to locate family to claim decedents from the Medical Examiner’s Office. However, in this case, we were unsuccessful despite utilizing all of our resources.”
The woman’s family maintains that the coroner’s office is not telling the truth.
Lewis thinks about her daughter every day.
Our condolences to the family.