Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Requesting that Funeral Homes to Work With Us For Finding Next of Kin
The following is the letter that I sent out to 12 funeral homes requesting that they work with our organization giving us a list of the potential indigent people arriving in their facility, so that we can assist in finding next of kin (allowing for families to choose the fate of the deceased).
White Tanks Angels Foundation
Miranda Rhuda, Founder
415 Dewey Street
Sandusky, OH 44870
December 7, 2013
ATTN: Funeral Home Management, Owner and Staff
Hello, my name is Miranda Rhuda. I am writing this letter to you with the intention of introducing myself and my organization to you. It is my hope that we may be able to build a working relationship between us to better serve the indigents that end up buried at White Tanks Cemetery or other county cemeteries for indigents.
I started this organization in an effort to help close the gap in the system for finding next of kin for those who have none listed elsewhere. A 15-year search for my mother ended in 2009 when I found out that she had passed in 2007 and was buried at White Tanks Cemetery. I struggled to understand and work through the process of indigent burials. I spoke with the public fiduciary and the funeral home that cared for her, but still found no reasonable explanation as to why I was not notified about her passing. I was told that it is not the funeral home’s responsibility to find next of kin, but the Public Fiduciary’s job. In my 15 year search for my mother, I had posted on over 1000 websites that I was searching for her; all of the postings included her full name, date of birth, middle initial, my name and where we were from, as well as where I thought she may be (Phoenix). A simple google search would have turned up next of kin for her, but a search was never done. The pain that I experienced in knowing that my mother had not only died alone, but was also buried and put to rest alone, buried by a chain gang was beyond explanation. I truly struggled to understand the whole thing. I posted on blog sites about my experience and before I knew it there were other families who poured out their hearts to me about their same experiences with their loved ones. Once I realized that it was not an isolated case (with my mother) but that it was happening, quite frequently, for many individuals, I set out to try and make a change. I have been contacted by more than 30 families who have discovered their loved ones buried at White Tanks, who have said they would have more than graciously accepted the responsibility of laying their loved ones to rest.
I have gone over the options for trying to remedy this situation in my mind many times since 2009. The final conclusion that I felt would be the best and the fastest was for me to start an organization where I can try to close the loophole in the failure to search for next of kin. I am offering to provide my own personal search services (acquired through 10 years of missing persons advocacy) free of charge to the funeral homes and/or fiduciary to find next of kin for those who have none listed. Many of these indigents are homeless, addicts or mentally ill who have become estranged from their families by their own free will—not by the families doing. If I fail to locate a loved one alive for a family, the least that I can do is to provide them with the opportunity to give proper goodbyes to their loved one at their time of death.
In addition to finding next of kin, our organization also offers free services to families who live in distant locations and cannot visit nor tend to their loved ones gravesite at White Tanks Cemetery. We have several members who volunteer to go out a number of times per week to visit, place flowers and take pictures to send to the family- in an effort to offer some comfort and closure.
It is my hope that you will embrace our organization and choose to use us as an ally in offering families the same closure and comfort as those who are not indigent. For the quickest and most ideal search for next of kin, obviously, as much information as possible is desired. Having a full name, date of birth and birth location is ideal for easier tracking of family members. However, we have many memberships for various people search sites including world membership to ancestry.com which provides extensive information in collective databases. I really hope to get as much cooperation from as many funeral homes as possible- in an effort at providing the closure needed to families in search of their loved ones.
Without communicating with the funeral homes, we have currently been researching the newspaper obituaries for listings that request more information on the deceased. The problem with this method is that we are only working to inform families of their loved ones passing and burial. We would like to get ahead of the burials, by receiving immediate notices from the funeral homes and work to find next of kin who can choose the method of burial for their loved ones, saving money for the tax payers of Maricopa County and healing families all over the country.
If you are contacted by a family, who lives out of state, requesting information on their loved ones plot at White Tanks, please feel free to refer them to our organization so that we may offer our free visitation services to them. We also assist families in navigating through the confirmation of identity, death certificate and paperwork process for the deceased.
If you would like to speak more about this- the fastest and easiest reply method would be to e-mail me at WhiteTanksAngels@gmail.com Please feel free to also write me via US Postal Mail or call me at 419-602-7147. If I do not answer, please leave a message and I will get back to you ASAP.
God Bless you for your services,
Miranda N. Rhuda, Founder
White Tanks Angels Foundation