B-142054, JUN. 23, 1960

B-142054: Jun 23, 1960

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BAIRD: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 8. WE WILL THEN BE ABLE TO DETERMINE THAT YOUR SON'S STEPCHILDREN WERE NOT A PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AND THAT. THE SIX MONTHS'DEATH GRATUITY IS PROPERLY PAYABLE TO YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND. WHICH IS DESIGNATED AS A "FINAL BILL. " WAS PAID ON JANUARY 9. IN THOSE LETTERS WE EXPLAINED TO YOU THAT THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED WAS TOO CONFLICTING TO FORM THE BASIS OF A DETERMINATION BY US AS TO WHETHER OR NOT YOUR SON'S STEPCHILDREN WERE A PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AND WE ADVISED YOU THAT WE WOULD WITHHOLD SETTLEMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY UNTIL SUCH TIME AS A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION DETERMINES WHETHER OR NOT THE CHILDREN WERE A PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AT THAT TIME.

B-142054, JUN. 23, 1960

TO MRS. COLEY L. BAIRD:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 8, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, AND TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 9, 1960, ALSO WITH ENCLOSURES, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY DUE IN THE CASE OF YOUR SON, COLEY ROBERT BAIRD, 454 99 74, WHO DIED ON JANUARY 31, 1959, WHILE SERVING AS ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN, THIRD CLASS, UNITED STATES NAVY, AT THE NAVAL ORDNANCE MISSILE TEST CENTER, WHITE SANDS, NEW MEXICO.

IN YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 8, 1960, YOU INDICATE THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS CASE HAS NOT BEEN DEVELOPED PROPERLY AND THAT IF WE CALL UPON THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY FOR ALL OF THE PERTINENT FACTS, WE WILL THEN BE ABLE TO DETERMINE THAT YOUR SON'S STEPCHILDREN WERE NOT A PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AND THAT, THEREFORE, THE SIX MONTHS'DEATH GRATUITY IS PROPERLY PAYABLE TO YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND. WITH THAT LETTER YOU FORWARDED FOR OUR CONSIDERATION PHOTOCOPIES OF SEVERAL PAGES FROM YOUR SON'S DIARY. WITH YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 9, 1960, YOU FURNISHED A BILL OF THE EL PASO ELECTRIC COMPANY ADDRESSED TO COLEY BAIRD, 1015 1/2 FOSTER NO. 2, LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO, AND IT APPEARS THAT SUCH BILL, WHICH IS DESIGNATED AS A "FINAL BILL," WAS PAID ON JANUARY 9, 1959. WE DID NOT RECEIVE THE TELEPHONE BILL MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER.

IN OUR LETTERS DATED APRIL 27, 1960, AND MAY 23, 1960, B-142054, WE FULLY ADVISED YOU AS TO THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD IN OUR OFFICE CONCERNING THIS CASE, AS TO THE APPLICABLE STATUTORY PROVISIONS, AND AS TO THE REASONS WHY WE FOUND NO BASIS FOR FAVORABLE ACTION ON YOUR CLAIM. IN THOSE LETTERS WE EXPLAINED TO YOU THAT THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED WAS TOO CONFLICTING TO FORM THE BASIS OF A DETERMINATION BY US AS TO WHETHER OR NOT YOUR SON'S STEPCHILDREN WERE A PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AND WE ADVISED YOU THAT WE WOULD WITHHOLD SETTLEMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY UNTIL SUCH TIME AS A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION DETERMINES WHETHER OR NOT THE CHILDREN WERE A PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AT THAT TIME. WE HAVE CAREFULLY CONSIDERED THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN YOUR TWO LETTERS MENTIONED ABOVE, AS WELL AS THAT CONTAINED IN THE ENCLOSURES RECEIVED WITH THOSE LETTERS. IN VIEW OF THE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS OF RECORD, HOWEVER, SUCH INFORMATION MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED IN LIEU OF A JUDICIAL DETERMINATION IN THE MATTER AND UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES IT AFFORDS NO PROPER BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT TO YOU OF THE AMOUNT DUE AS SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY. SINCE WE MUST PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF EVERYONE CONCERNED, INCLUDING THE GOVERNMENT, YOU ARE AGAIN ADVISED THAT WE WOULD NOT BE WARRANTED IN MAKING PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IN THIS CASE TO ANYONE IN THE ABSENCE OF A DETERMINATION BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE STEPCHILDREN WERE A PART OF YOUR SON'S HOUSEHOLD AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. ACCORDINGLY, UNTIL SUCH A DETERMINATION HAS BEEN MADE, NO FURTHER ACTION WILL BE TAKEN BY US IN THE MATTER. IN THIS CONNECTION IT MAY BE STATED THAT YOUR VARIOUS CONTENTIONS AS SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 8, 1960, ALTHOUGH NOT SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED HERE, HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY CONSIDERED AND FOUND TO BE INSUFFICIENT TO FORM THE BASIS FOR A DECISION IN FAVOR OF PAYMENT TO YOU.

THE ENCLOSURES RECEIVED WITH YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 9, 1960, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.

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