US couple’s death in Fiji: FBI steps in

US couple Michelle and David. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

THE United States Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting police with investigations into the deaths of American tourists, David and Michelle Paul, whose deaths two months ago remain unsolved.

The involvement of the United States’ top law enforcement agency was confirmed yesterday by police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro.

On whether the police had classified the deaths, she said “at this point we have sourced their expertise (FBI) on a few issues regarding the investigations before that can be confirmed”.

This confirmation will bring some relief to the deceased’s grieving families who are still seeking closure from the double deaths that has stumped many.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded tests for toxins and the families are still in the dark about the circumstances that led to the young couple’s demise.

“The CDC was testing for toxins with the help of the forensics laboratory in Victoria, Australia, and in the final conference call they told us they could not find any toxins,” Michelle’s father, Marc Calanog, said, “But they told us that just because they couldn’t find it, it does not mean there’s no toxin there.

It just means they do not have the capacity to find certain poison. “So we were putting all our faith in the forensic examination being done by the laboratory in Dover, Delaware.

They are also working with other laboratories to find out the cause of death.

Something ferocious and aggressive caused them to get sick and die quickly.

Both families are hoping that the experts will find out what it is, so now our spirits are lifted knowing the FBI is assisting in the investigations.”

Meanwhile, Ms Naisoro made the statement about the FBI’s involvement while responding to concerns about the “wall of silence” that has prevailed since the deaths in May.

Both Mr Calanog and David’s mother, Marsha Cutlip Paul, said earlier this week they were upset because they had not heard from Fijian authorities.

“We do not have the final autopsy report and despite requests on the status of their personal belongings, we have not heard back,” Mr Calanog said.

“I even asked for an inventory of what the authorities have in their possession but nothing has been forthcoming.

We still don’t know why they want to hold on to their phones and credit cards. The only things we have received are their house and car keys.”

David and Michelle died days apart after arriving in Fiji on May 22 for a holiday.

The families had sought public help earlier after empty packets of kava was found in their room.

Kava was also identified as the beverage sent for tests, along with food that was in the room.

The tests found the kava and food were not contaminated.

The families, however, believed the person who mixed or drank kava with the couple may have been the last to see them before they fell sick on May 24.

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