Mom and Girlfriend Fight Over GI's Remains

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A mother and a common-law wife are fighting over the dead body of an Iraq veteran who died in a Texas bar fight.

Twenty-eight-year-old Shawn Michael Freese died January 14th in Austin after a fight at a bar popular with University of Texas students. He was a bouncer there.

He has an infant daughter with Kimberli Uranga, a bar employee with whom he lived for 18 months. She is claiming rights as a common-law wife and says he wanted a Texas burial.

Shawn's mother, Cheryl Freese, who lives in suburban Portland, wants his body sent to Oregon. She contends common law does not apply in the case. She also says Uranga has designs on her son's Social Security and veterans' benefits.

Meanwhile, Shawn Freese's remains are being held by restraining order at an Austin-area funeral home.

Oregon does not recognize common-law marriage, but about 15 states do. Texas requires only that a couple consider themselves married, present themselves to others as husband and wife or file a joint tax return and live together in Texas.

A hearing is set for February Ninth.

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