Family receives closure in daughter's death after 33 years

Tina Lovett died three decades ago, and her family is just now getting closure in her death. Ken Amaro investigates this story.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On a hot August morning, the family of Tina Lovett gathered at Jacksonville's Riverside Memorial Park to bury Lovett again.

"The hard part today was watching that coffin come out of the ground," said Alice Herndon.

Lovett's aunts and her mother watched as the coffin was exhumed from its peaceful resting place after 33 years.

"It was hard and yet I knew she was not in the casket as far as I am concerned," said her mom, Penny Lakoskey.

The casket was slowly moved on a gurney partially hidden behind a blue curtain of heartaches.

"Why did this have to happen? asked Linda Tierney.

In 1984, Lovett, a junior at Ed White High School was murdered.

When police found her body, it was badly decomposed.  The family had a funeral service and thought they had buried all of her remains.

"I wouldn't have had a funeral back in '84," Lakoskey said.

This summer, Lakoskey, her mother who now lives in Minnesota, received a letter from the Medical Examiner's office stating that Lovett's skull and upper torso were still with the medical examiner and she needs to claim them.

"The way they done it it was totally uncalled for," she said.

Why now? The family wants answers.

The medical examiner records show in 1992, Lovett's remains were send to UF Gainesville CA Pound Lab.

In 2000, they were shipped back to Jacksonville. In 2005, they were sent to the medical examiner's office in Naples and returned to Jacksonville in 2016.

Her mother received the notice to claim them July 2017.    

"I still don't have any answers as why this happened and that's what I'm searching for answers,"  Lakoskey said.

They're still searching for answer, but today what they got was peace.

"We did feel at peace when we saw them carrying the casket to the grave,' Herndon said.

Her remains were united with what was buried in 1984 and placed to rest, in a new casket, giving the family a sense of closure.

"I felt better because I knew she was whole again,' Lakoskey said.

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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