The family of one of the Asiana Flight 214 crash victims is not only mourning their loss, but the father of one of the 16-year-old girls is distraught because he has yet to be able to see his daughter's body. Wang Lin Jia and Ye Meng Yuan were both thrown from the plane on impact.
The parents of Lin Jia have made the long journey from China to San Francisco to bring their daughter home. The coroner says the autopsy is over and her body has been ready for release since Monday. But Lin Jia's father has not seen her yet and is in agony.
In a Chinese newspaper he's quoted as saying, "I know everyone is doing this for my child, but my daughter is my flesh and blood. How can I stand to let her lie in the medical examiner's freezer all by her lonesome? Right now I just want her family to be together. Her relatives and good friends are in Jiangshan waiting for her return."
When we asked San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault why the family can't come in to take a look at her body at the morgue he answered, "It's not the appropriate viewing facility. It's better to have it done in a funeral home."
He says the procedure is for families to make arrangements with a funeral home to pick up the body. And though we learned there is no state law regulating that process, the head of the Funeral Consumers Alliance agrees that's the common practice.
"The coroner's job is not to make the deceased look pretty and put their features in order and dressed nicely," said Marjorie Bridges with the FCA. "And that's what a funeral home would want to do."
The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco has been helping all the families impacted by the crash. A spokesman told me Thursday they are trying to help make arrangements with funeral homes.
The coroner says his office has been talking with the parents of both 16-year-old victims and this is the first he's heard of any concerns from Lin Jia's father about viewing her body.
"We have a very positive working relationship with the family and when they are ready to move on to the next step we are ready to accommodate them," Foucrault said.
The coroner says it could take two to three weeks to determine the cause of death for both girls. The autopsies have been done but now they need to talk to the pathologist, examine the police reports, and look at news video to try to get the complete picture of what happened.