The heartbroken family of a young beautician who took her own life has given every young Australian a piece of advice after she spent four weeks in the morgue over arguing over who owned her body.
Caitlin Thornton, 21, was found unconscious on March 8 at a home in Cessnock, in the Hunter region of NSW, after attempting to take her own life.
She died in hospital three days later, leaving behind two young sons.
In addition to her mother Kylie Bailey’s grief, Caitlin’s body remained in the morgue for four weeks as there was debate over who her next of kin were.
Caitlin had ended her tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend Alex Passfield, according to her mother.
Young mother-of-two Caitlin Thornton (pictured) tragically took her own life in March
Despite the couple separating, Mr. Passfield was still considered a close relative and thus held title to her body.
Caitlin’s body was finally released by Mr Passfield earlier this week, a month after her tragic death.
Kylie told A Current Affair that she was now lobbying for the law to be changed so that other grieving families don’t suffer the same heartache when they have to debate who owns their child’s body.
‘Do you think you don’t need a will? Do you think you own nothing?’ she wrote.
‘Think again! You own your own body, without a will, you can be taken from your family after your death, that man you broke up with can claim to be senior close relatives, they can just take you.
“And those who really love you, your family, your parents, your siblings must fight to bury you.”
Kylie said her “fight” started.
“For four weeks my precious little girl lies cold and bruised in a morgue, as we have to put aside our grief and fight to give her the farewell she so deserves,” she wrote.
“Once our fight to get our daughter back is over, our fight to change the coroner’s law to next of kin will begin.”
Kylie said her daughter had a plan to raise her boys, but it came to a tragic end in March.
“She just wanted a future for her and the boys and wrote notes about it. She was so close,” she said.
Kylie Bailey fought for a month for her daughter’s body to be released from a morgue
Caitlin’s grandmother Heather added, “It tears our hearts apart.”
Family, friends and locals gathered in Shoal Bay on March 19 to place flowers in the ocean in memory of Caitlin, including her father who traveled from New Zealand for the memorial.
A month after Caitlin’s death, Mrs. Bailey is finally able to plan her daughter’s funeral.
“Today marks exactly one month since Caitlin turned off her life support,” she wrote Tuesday, hours after the clip aired.
“Thanks to the wonderful neighbors and paramedics, we were able to spend another three days with our precious girl before she got her wings.
Exactly one month later, late this afternoon, Caitlin’s next of kin finally released her body for burial.
“Finally we can lay our girl to rest in peace.
“Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support and condolences during this difficult time.”
Kylie Bailey (right) is relieved to finally be able to put her daughter Caitlin (left) to rest
In the weeks leading up to her death, Caitlin was preparing for a fresh start in life and had just started her own eyelash business.
Ms. Bailey described her daughter as a beautiful, creative and artistic young woman and an “adoring loving mother” who adored her boys.
She will never forget the moment she learned what had happened to her daughter.
“We got a knock on the door from the police and I just looked at him and said “is my daughter alive and he said no she is unconscious and they are trying to resuscitate her and you have to go to the hospital and meet her there to say goodbye take,” Mrs. Bailey recalled.
NSW Police confirmed at the time that they were treating Caitlin’s death as a suspected self-harm incident.
“A crime scene was made at the house and examined by the specialized forensic police, after which an investigation into the incident was started,” said a spokesperson.
“Initial investigations suggest the incident is not suspicious and a report is being prepared for the information of the coroner.”
If you or someone you know needs support, please contact Lifeline 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
Caitlin Thornton (pictured) leaves behind two little boys
Family and friends gathered in Shoal Bay on March 19 to place flowers in the ocean in memory of Caitlin