Stephen M. Silverman
April 01, 2005 08:00 AM

The death of Terri Schiavo has not put to rest the warring factions of her grieving family.

Schiavo, 41, in a vegetative state since a cardiac arrest 15 years ago and who in recent months became the focal point of a national right-to-life controversy that reached all the way to the White House, died on Thursday, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed by a judge’s order.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo says his wife told him long ago that she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, disputed Michael’s claim, which they said went against their Catholic beliefs, and held out for a miracle to reverse their daughter’s situation.

In a few weeks, the Associated Press reports, a medical examiner’s autopsy report is expected to determine the level of Schiavo’s state of consciousness and whether her husband abused her, as the Schindlers allege.

Also being disputed is the question of Terri’s burial. Because of their religious beliefs, her parents wish to have her buried (in Florida, where they live), while Michael Schiavo, who has custody of Terri’s remains, plans to have his wife cremated and her ashes buried in an undisclosed location near Philadelphia, where she was born and the couple had married.

The location is also to prevent the burial from becoming a media spectacle, said Scott Schiavo, Michael’s brother.

As a concession to the Schindlers, however, a funeral Mass is scheduled for Tuesday, according to news reports.

On Thursday night at a memorial service in Florida, Bob Schindler told the crowd of some 200-strong: “You got us through a really tough time … We’re so appreciative of it. We’ll never forget you all. Thank you so, so much. And Terri thanks you, too.”

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