Margaret King’s family members found after nearly a year of searching

Margaret King’s family members found after nearly a year of searching

Margaret King’s family members found after nearly a year of searching
May 16
18:31 2018

Two family members of a deceased graduate student and custodian were found after a nearly year-long search by UNT officials, the UNT police department and UNT facilities, according to UNT spokesperson Leigh Anne Gullett. UNT held a public funeral at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery on Wednesday for Margaret King who died at 67 years old last year.   

Margaret King.

King’s niece flew in from Atlanta to attend the funeral and her half-sister flew in from California but did not make it in time for the service.

“I am really proud of the University for doing right by her and making sure she had a proper burial,” Gullett said. “[The university] went the extra mile in trying to find her family and find people to be [at the funeral].”

King, a Haltom City resident, was found unconscious at lot 26 near Bain Hall on Sept. 14, 2017. She was taken to Texas Health Resources Denton where she was pronounced dead, according to initial reports from the North Texas Daily.

Medical examiners told the Denton Record-Chronicle she died of natural causes. UNT officials hoped sharing her name would notify friends or family of her passing.

The police contacted the facilities custodial manager and King’s former supervisor, David Barkenhagan, and found she had no emergency contacts. Her body went to the Fort Worth medical examiner and coroners could not find any relatives.

Barkenhagan talked to other employees where she worked at the Physical Education Building. Everyone said she was a friendly but private individual. They said she never mentioned her personal life.

“She was a good employee,” Barkenhagan said. “She was friendly. She got along well with the staff.”

Barkenhagan received her cremated remains from the medical examiner and waited for any family members to be found. When he thought nobody was found, he planned the funeral.

Gullet worked with media outlets all across the country to find her next of kin. She said a woman emailed her saying King was her grandmother’s half-sister.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reported that King was born in Brooklyn, New York even though her Facebook page lists hometown as San Antonio. She served in the U.S. Air Force from 1971 to 1974, according to employment records.

King worked as a UNT custodian beginning June 2016 and was pursuing a master’s degree for interdisciplinary studies at the time of her death. She previously earned a master’s degree in information science and another master’s degree in computer education from UNT.

She also received two associate degrees for accounting and information technology and business from Tidewater Community College, a bachelor’s degree in business from Saint Leo University and a master’s degree for gerontology from Norfolk State University.

Barkenhagan said he expected Air Force Honor Guard, North Texas Patriot Guard, UNT ROTC members and her UNT family to be at the funeral. Gullett said there was a large number of people at the funeral because they saw King’s story from different news organizations. 

“There is a lot of support for the funeral,” Barkenhagan said. “I’m really pleased that she will be well represented and well honored.”  

Featured Image: People gather to attend the funeral of Margaret King. Courtesy UNT Facilities

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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