GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Georgetown Police said it is still looking for possible relatives of Jason G. Gait, 83, who died in his home in late September. With no next of kin yet found, the disposal of his body is now up to Williamson County.
At Tuesday’s commissioners court meeting, commissioners considered authorizing the cremation of Gait in accordance with Texas Health and Safety Code.
Because Gait has no identified next of kin, his body, which is currently awaiting autopsy for an official cause of death, will eventually be cremated by Beck Funeral Home in Cedar Park.
The cremated remains will then go into storage in the evidence room of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, said a spokesperson with Williamson County.
Gait’s home on the 1700 block of S. Main St. in Georgetown still has the plants he was often seen tending to still outside in the driveway. Yellow orchid flowers are still thriving despite being without their caretaker for more than a month.
Neighbor David Asbury said he and his wife walked by Gait’s home nearly every day to go to their local gym.
He and several other neighbors described Gait as very private, even reclusive at times, really only leaving his home to take out the trash or tend to his plants.
Asbury said he made an effort to interact with Gait, the flowers often being the topic of conversation.
“At one point she [my wife] had an orchid, and I asked him about orchid care and he kind of perked up at that,” said Asbury.
While Gait’s remains are currently unclaimed, his neighbors tried to reassure the elder he was not alone.
One female neighbor said she and another household would bring Gait groceries during the height of the pandemic. It was his neighbors noticing his absence that led to his body being discovered by Georgetown Police.
Asbury said the neighborhood residents often look out for one another in this way and encouraged people to do the same, especially for older residents.
“I know that any effort is likely appreciated,” said Asbury.
The county said it can request an application, usually from a family member if one is known, and officials will look into the income and resources of the deceased.
Hays County said it can’t cremate a body without approval from the next of kin, but it can receive requests for indigent burials from a variety of entities, including families, hospitals, funeral homes, JP offices, nursing homes and hospice care centers.
Travis County does help individuals and families who have no resources to cover the cost of a burial or cremation.
Legal next of kin can get an application for the county’s services by fax or mail by calling the county’s burial program. Staff must then collect details to prove the decedent’s income, resources and the income and resources of the legal next of kin.
All applicants will have time to collect the required documents and information.
More information is posted online.