LOS ANGELES, Calif. --A backlog at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner has impacted one Lincoln Heights family who can't get answers on when the body of their father can be released.
Carmen Diaz-Mena and two of her sisters were brought to tears Friday night, telling Eyewitness News about their father, 83-year-old Salvador Mena.
He was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Jan. 6 and died Feb. 29th. His funeral was supposed to be on Friday, but his body is stuck at the coroner's office.
"It's just too much. It's like we can't say our goodbye," said Diaz-Mena.
The family has reached out because they want answers. With close to 200 bodies stuck in processing, Eyewitness News learned L.A. County's chief medical examiner-coroner Mark Fajardo will be resigning after less than three years on the job, out of frustration over understaffing in his department.
In the meantime, families like this one continue to wait in limbo, unable to find any closure on a painful death.
They said they can't plan a funeral or tell relatives in El Salvador when to book a flight, because Salvador is stuck in cold storage.
"Every day, for me, I have to go to work pretending everything's OK and it's not," said Diaz-Mena.
The family does not know an official cause of death because an autopsy has not been performed, and a death certificate has not yet been signed.
A $25,000 reward has been placed by the city to help find the suspected hit-and-run driver that took the 83-year-old man's life.