Garden Grove : Local News in Brief : Communication Lapse Claimed in Body Case

County officials said the body of a man shot Jan. 29 by police remained unclaimed at the morgue Monday because of an apparent lack of communication.

Lt. Richard J. Olson, spokesman for the Sheriff-Coroner’s Department, said that the Gonzales family of Garden Grove was contacted Saturday and informed that the body of Dennis Paul Gonzales could be claimed for burial or cremation. But as of Monday evening, it had not been removed. The Gonzaleses could not be reached for comment.

Gonzales’ mother, Dolores Gonzales, said last week that she and another son had left numerous phone messages at the coroner’s office, trying to find out why the body was being kept there.

Senior Deputy Coroner Richard McAnally said Monday, “There was some kind of miscommunication between the family and I don’t know who.”


Gonzales, 20, was shot to death when he allegedly threatened Garden Grove police who responded to a disturbance call at the house of a friend of Gonzales. The gun that Gonzales allegedly brandished turned out to be a toy, authorities said. The case is under investigation by the district attorney’s office.

Olson said a hold is placed on the bodies of shooting victims, and the families are notified when the bodies may be released to a mortuary. Olson added that the department would verify that all procedures were followed in this case.