IOWA -- As Sabrina Ray's family members prepare to testify during the trial in the teen's death, a court will also work to decide the fate of her remains.
"As far as a termination of parental rights, legally I'm not sure that at this stage there really is anything left to terminate because she has passed," said Wandro and Associates attorney Stefanie Thomas.
Thomas said this case presents some unique circumstances, with a young girl who's now dead and her family members facing charges in the case. Her adoptive parents still have rights, including determining how she'll be buried. Thomas adds that terminating parental rights is usually done for the safety of children while alive, but in this case a family member or possibly the state of Iowa could raise the issue about her remains.
In the end, Thomas said, it could be up to the court to decide to whom the body will be released.
"So certainly in this case, I think the likely answer is the probate court will make the ultimate determination as far as who her body is released to," she said.
Sabrina's biological family has sought to get the right to bury the teen. The Perry Fire Department has also offered to cover the expense of giving her a final resting place.