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Brain dead girl Jahi McMath released to coroner, mother: hospital

Courtesy Of Mcmath Family / Omari Sealey - AP

Jahi McMath, seen in this undated photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey.

The body of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after suffering complications from routine tonsil surgery, has been released to her mother by coroners, the hospital that had been treating her said in a statement Sunday.

The Eighth-grader was released to the coroner who then released her into the custody of her mother Latasha Winkfield as per court order, Dr. David Durand, Chief of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland said in a statement. He added that her destination is unknown. 

“Our hearts go out to the family as they grieve for this sad situation and we wish them closure and peace,” he said.

McMath left the hospital in a private ambulance shortly before 8 p.m. PT on Sunday, Christopher Dolan, her family's attorney, told the Associated Press, although he did not disclose her destination.

She was taken by a critical care team while attached to a ventilator but without a feeding tube, Dolan added.

"It was a very tense situation," Dolan told the AP. "Everybody played by the rules."

McMath's uncle, Omari Seeley, said Monday that she traveled by ground and that there were no complications in the transfer — suggesting the girl may be in California, according to the AP.

The new facility where McCath is staying has "been very welcoming with open arms. They have beliefs just like ours," Seeley said, according to the wire service. "They believe as we do."

A federal judge ordered attorneys for the family of Jahi McMath and the Children's Hospital in Oakland to hold a "mandatory settlement conference." The girl was declared brain-dead after complications from a tonsillectomy; her family has been battling to keep the girl alive and move her to a facility in New York.

McMath underwent a tonsillectomy and other operations to alleviate her sleep apnea on Dec. 9. She began bleeding profusely and went into cardiac arrest shortly after.

The young girl’s family has been in a legal battle with the hospital since doctors declared her brain dead three days after the operation.

The hospital refused to fit her with a feeding tube or a breathing tube that would help stabilize her during a move, saying it was unethical to perform medical procedures on a dead person and she should be disconnected from her ventilator.

Winkfield went to court to stop the machine from being disconnected.

Ben Margot / AP

Martin Winkfield places his arm around his wife Nailah Winkfield, mother of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, as they wait outside a courtroom Friday.

On Friday, a judge ruled that McMath could be transferred under an agreement with Children's Hospital and the girl's mother will be held accountable for developments that could include Jahi going into cardiac arrest.

The Alameda County coroner's office issued a death certificate for the girl Friday but said the document is incomplete because no cause of death has been determined pending an autopsy.

Dolan wouldn't specify where the girl was taken but he said "they are going to care for her, respect her and love her. And they're going to call her Jahi, not 'the body.'"

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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