JACKSONVILLE, FL -- In one day, Tina Louise Lovett's family's past became their present.
"Why did they wait 33 years to contact my sister about these remains?" said Linda Tierney.
In 1984, Tina Louise Lovett was murdered and, the family thought, was buried.
"We had the funeral here and we thought we had a body in the casket," said Alice Herndon.
Linda Tierney and Alice Herndon are Lovett's Aunts. They are looking for answers after the Medical Examiner's office notified them it is in possession of Lovett's cranium and upper body.
"I was in shock when I heard that,' said Herndon.
Dr. Valerie Rao is Jacksonville's Medical Examiner. She was not the medical examiner at the time but did provide a timeline of where the remains were over the past 33 years, but not a why.
- May 1984 - the remains were at the Jacksonville ME's office.
- January 1992, Lovett's remains are sent to the CA Pound Lab at the University of Florida.
- March 2000, the remains are returned to Jacksonville
- August 2005, the collection of remains are released to District 20, Naples Medical Examiner.
- July 2016, they're returned to Jacksonville's ME.
- July 2017, the state's attorney's office says the case can be destroyed
Six days later the family is notified.
"I had no idea, none and nobody in the family knew about this until I receive this letter," said Penny Lovett Lakoskey.
Lakoskey is Tina's mother and lives in Minnesota.
"They never ever told us they even had the body parts, never," said Herndon.
Now the family wants to know why Lovett's remains were transferred to the various locations.
"Everybody is sympathetic and they keep going back to this is the way we have to do it," said Herndon. "If this is the way they have to do it they better change the way they have to do it."
Lakoskey said she wants closure for her daughter and her family.
"I want her remains put in that casket they way it should be and that's what I want," she said.
They have reached out to the city's social services under the advice of the Medical Examiner for help in paying for placing the remains in Tina Lovett's casket with the rest of her body.
Dr. Rao gave a brief description of what Florida Law requires:
"...we're asked to hold on to evidence...to determine cause and manner of death. In a closed case we return the remains to next of kin. We try our best to make it as painless as possible," said Dr. Rao.