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Woman to Be Exhumed for Autopsy

December 30, 1987|Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The coroner's office will exhume the remains of a Huntington Beach mother whose children believe she may have been killed three years ago by her second husband.

Superior Court Judge Ricardo Torres on Monday ordered County Coroner Ronald Kornblum to exhume the body of Nancy Ann Galyean Barwick, who died Feb. 20, 1985, after a shipwreck off the Caribbean island of Aruba.

"You have no idea how long I've waited for this," said the dead woman's son, Tony Galyean. "I'm very pleased. We've been at this for two years now, and now we have a chance to find out what really happened."

Galyean, along with two of his siblings and Nancy Barwick's mother, Marion Painter, have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Kenneth Barwick, alleging that he may be responsible for the woman's death a year after they married.

Exclude His Sharing

Galyean said he and other family members believe that Barwick, now 38, married Nancy Barwick only for her money. Barwick has said that the family's allegations stem from their efforts to exclude his sharing in his late wife's $1.2-million will.

Torres agreed with the family that the coroner has jurisdiction to perform an autopsy even though the death occurred outside the county. It wasn't disclosed when the exhumation would take place.

Nancy Barwick died just after she, Barwick and several crewmen were forced to leave their ship, the S.S. Vera, when it began sinking. The Barwicks and the crew got into a lifeboat but had to swim to shore after the lifeboat capsized.

Barwick told his wife's relatives that Nancy Barwick collapsed on the shore of Aruba and died of a heart attack.

However, Galyean said, no Aruban official did an autopsy on his mother's body. He also said she was an excellent swimmer, in good physical condition and had no history of heart problems.

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