Family awaits dad’s death certificate for months


A family is feeling like they’re running in circles after their father died in a crash.

A family is feeling like they’re running in circles after their father died in a crash. It’s been months and still and they don’t have a death certificate, meaning the life insurance he left them is in limbo.

“The best memory I have of him was summers in Standish when we’d visit my grandparents my dad worked at a campground as the pool guy. A lot of people in Standish still know him as ‘the pool guy,'” Natasha Rulason said.

And the pool guy was a cool guy. 53-year-old Darren Rulason loved Star Wars, wood working and Nascar.

“He’s had a wild life,” Natasha said.

A wild life that ended in a Gladwin County snowmobile crash in late November.

But through it all, his daughter Natasha has stayed positive.

“I got the phone call and was like, ‘you know that seems like the perfect way to leave the world,'” she said.

But since her father’s death she’s run into a problem over and over.

She can’t get his death certificate. And without it her family can’t get receive Darren’s life insurance.

“It blows my mind because how many other people are dealing with the same thing,” Natasha said.

She was told it’d take 4-6 weeks COVID cases were backing things up.

So, by February with no updates she called the funeral home, they said to call the Gladwin County Medical Examiner’s office.

They said to call Saginaw County who handles their cases, so she called.

“They said they were really backed up, there were a lot of deaths because of COVID,” she said. “They said they’ll email the person who takes care of the autopsy reports.”

Two months went by, no certificate. She called again Tuesday.

“The same response. They said we can put an email through and see if he can speed it up,” she said.

She called the Saginaw County Clerk too.

“She said it wasn’t in their system. It hasn’t been created,” she said. “It’s just so overwhelming to dig everything up again.”

So, she took to twitter and got a hold of TV5 and we started investigating.

Eventually we got a hold of Russell Bush, the Saginaw county medical examiner and covers other counties like Gladwin too. He said he’d look into it, and he kept his promise. Wednesday evening got a call back, the death certificate was finalized March 15. They’d been waiting on a final autopsy report which can take around 8 weeks. So, the certificate should be at the Gladwin County Clerk’s office.

But it was after hours. The funeral home was closed too. We told Natasha and she plans to call first thing in the morning.

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