Local News

Durham Mortician Takes Matter of Stranded Body Into Her Own Hands

Posted November 27, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— A Durham mortician ran into a huge road block when she tried to send a body back home to Mexico. After the Mexican consulate in Washington refused to process the necessary paperwork, she took matters into her own hands Tuesday.

Martha Sandlin loaded the body into a hearse and drove it to the new Mexican consulate's office in downtown Raleigh.

"I brought the body over here in the hearse, and I was not going to leave until I had the papers processed so that the body could leave tonight on its flight," she says.

Sandlin says the problem originated in September with the consulate's office in Washington, D.C. The consulate in Raleigh opened just last week to serve the area's growing Mexican population.

Having a local consulate helped Sandlin cut through the red tape.

"She explained the problem, so we could solve it right away," says Carolina Zaragoza, the consulate in Raleigh. "It was easy."

Within 30 minutes, Sandlin had the papers she needed to get the body on the plane for its 9 p.m. flight from Raleigh. She was impressed with the efficiency of the local office.

"It'll make the family feel even better," she says.