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DCF: Terri Schiavo not abused, exploited
Updated: 2005-04-16 15:01

The US Department of Children and Families said it found no evidence that Terri Schiavo had been abused or exploited by either side of her family after the legal battle surrounding her right-to-die case intensified, according to documents released under a court order Friday.

The agency investigated 89 complaints logged on its hotline dating back to 2001, when Schiavo's feeding tube was removed for the first time. The calls alleged that the brain-damaged woman was being mistreated by both her husband and her parents for financial gain.

Mary Schindler, center, mother of Terri Schiavo, and son Bobby Schindler, right, greet a family friend following a memorial Mass for Schiavo at Our Lady of Good Counsel church in Southampton Pa., Friday, April 15, 2005. Schiavo died March 31 at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., 13 days after her feeding tube was removed by court order--ending a bitter legal battle between her husband, Michael, and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. [AP]

One complaint alleged her parents were selling videos of her through a Web site, while another caller complained that her husband wasn't spending money intended for her rehabilitation.

However, investigators said they found no evidence that either her husband or parents were exploiting her, and often noted in their records that they found Schiavo well cared for on their visits to her Pinellas Park hospice.

The agency was ordered on Thursday to release the records by Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer.

Schiavo, 41, died last month after her feeding tube was removed for the third time, ending a gut-wrenching court battle between her husband, Michael Schiavo, and parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, over whether she would have wanted to live in a vegetative state.

The repeated allegations of abuse were based partly on bone scans showing Terri Schiavo suffered fractures and statements she made to family and friends that she was unhappy in her marriage.

Schiavo's husband has denied harming his wife. His lawyer said the fractures resulted from osteoporosis caused by the woman's years of immobility and complications of her medication.

Attorneys for Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday. The Schindlers attended a memorial service for their daughter Friday evening in Southampton, Pa.

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