Mother says slain 3-year-old daughter cremated without her knowledge

A California woman whose 3-year-old daughter was killed in a drive-by shooting last month said the child was cremated without her knowledge, KRCA reported.

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Paula Anderson told the television station that she received a Facebook message Monday that told her that her estranged husband had Azalya Anderson cremated and that a memorial service had already been held.

"I had planned to take my daughter and bury her with my parents in San Jose," Anderson told KCRA. "I don't believe in cremation. Now, my daughter is ashes in a box."

Azalya was inside her home when she was shot in the head on Sept. 11, the television station reported. She was put on life support and died six days later.

According to Anderson, Azalya’s body was taken to the Sacramento County Coroner's Office.

"They (coroner's office) called us and told us it would be two to three weeks, (and) we didn't (sic) not need to contact them -- that they would contact us," Anderson told KCRA.

Anderson later learned that Azalya’s body was released to her biological father, the television station reported.

“Nobody called to say they released her body, they’re looking for you or none of that,” Anderson said.

The father's family declined comment, KCRA reported.

The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office would not specifically address Azalya’s case, but a spokeswoman explained the process behind releasing a body to a parent.

“If there is a child that is deceased, the coroner’s office reaches out to both biological parents,” Kimberly Nava told KCRA. “Both biological parents have equal rights as pursuant to the law.

“If one parent is responsive and makes funeral arrangements and the other parent is nonresponsive, the coroner’s office works with the responsive parent,” Nava said.

A vigil was held for Azalya on Sept. 29, KTXL reported.

Anderson said the whole process “isn’t OK.”

"I'm hurt. I'm really hurt. I don't even know how to explain it," Anderson told KCRA. "I don't even know how I feel. I don't even have my daughter's ashes."

Sacramento County deputies said the shooting is being treated as an unsolved case.

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