Airline admits to body mix-up; family of Texas crash victim left waiting

Published: Oct. 20, 2017 at 12:45 PM CDT
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An airline mix-up involving the body of a 20-year-old North Texas woman left a grieving family in limbo for days.

Alma Sanchez, who also went by Amy Rodriguez, was killed three weeks ago when a trailer came loose from an oncoming pickup on Highway 289 in Pottsboro.

Sanchez was born in Houston and was working at nursery in Pottsboro to make money to send home to her family in Mexico.

Co-workers helped raise $7,000 to send her body back to Mexico, where her family lives.

Arrangements were made with United Airlines to transport her remains on Oct. 13, but when employees of a funeral home in Mexico City went to pick up the body, they were told the paperwork was not there and they couldn't take the body.

Friends in Pottsboro called United Airlines, they were told that the woman’s body was actually sent to the wrong city.

And for the next three days, Sanchez's friend and co-worker Graciela Gonzalez said she got multiple stories from United Airlines about why the body couldn't be picked up.

"Her mom is waiting for her in Oaxaca, they already have everything ready, everything set up, and suddenly, we just don't know where her body is," Gonzalez said.

"It's heartbreaking, it really is, the way she passed away first of all and then what her family had been through to take her back to Mexico," Gonzalez said.

"Her body is in Guadalajara, but no actually her documents are in Guadalajara, we're gonna swap the bodies," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said while United tried to find the paperwork, Sanchez's family had to delay the funeral.

The whole time, her body was sitting at the airport in Mexico City, six hours away from the family in Oaxaca.

"It was like if she was luggage, she was already starting to leak, that's what one of the managers told me," Gonzalez said.

United, in a statement to KXII-TV in Sherman, said: "Upon learning that we had sent inaccurate documents to Mexico City, we acted with urgency to provide corrected information. We have extended our deepest apologies to the family and provided a full refund."

United let the family pick up the body Monday without the paperwork.

"It was heartbreaking for the mother. United needs to think about it, they need to see what the family really does deserve," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said United told her it’s still looking for the documents, including Sanchez's birth certificate.

She said while nothing will compensate for what happened, they just hope United learns from its mistake.

As for now, they're considering legal action.

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