With no one to claim him, deceased man stuck in limbo
Published Monday, January 7, 2019 6:55PM EST
A Kitchener man died 38 days ago, but his body remains unclaimed.
That means that a funeral won’t be scheduled for Mark Billings for a while.
A few people in Waterloo Region go unclaimed every year, which can sometimes make for a lengthy process before there is a service.
“We all need to be laid to rest,” says Billings’ friend Rick Couckuit. He and Billings were friends for the better part of a decade.
Couckuit says Billings got cancer but did not get it treated until it was too late, dying the night he went to hospital.
That was on Nov. 30 2018.
“He was stubborn that way to go to the hospital, he had this way about him,” Couckuit says.
For privacy reasons, neither Grand River Hospital nor the Office of the Chief Coroner could confirm an investigation into finding a claimant for Billings has begun.
“A claimant could be anyone who is willing and able to see to the respectful disposition of a deceased person. A claimant could be a friend, neighbour, clergy, employer, an organization/club where the decedent was a member etc.,” the Office of the Chief Coroner says in part in a statement.
Couckuit says he doesn’t have the means to put his friend to rest.
According to funeral director Henry Walser, Billings won’t have an end-of-life service until someone claims him.
Friends say Billings was on social assistance, meaning the region may provide up to $5,000 for a burial, but without someone to claim him, he’ll remain in limbo.
Officials will not confirm whether they’ve made contact with the man’s son or a possible brother.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service says that they have not been asked to help find anyone located to him.
With reporting from Max Wark.