US couple’s death in Fiji: Call to release bodies

US couple Michelle and David. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

THE Fijian Government is not responsible for the release of the bodies of US couple David, 37, and Michelle Paul, 35, says Health and Medical Services Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

The US couple were holidaying in Nadi last month when they died of a mysterious illness.

“The release of the bodies is not the prerogative of the Fijian Government.

“It will go through a process, the discussion will happen with the forensics and other stakeholders,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“The process will be followed on its own, we will have to give our views from our side and other stakeholders, but right now I don’t know where the bodies are kept, either at Lautoka Hospital or in Nadi, I really don’t know.”

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has ruled out influenza as the cause of the couple’s death as reported on June 5.

Michelle’s father Marc Calanog questioned the need for Fiji to hold on to the bodies.

“There is no point holding it in storage because Fiji does not have the capacity to do any further tests.

“We wanted the bodies so the forensic experts here can take the specimens they need,” Mr Calanog said.

“There are three doctors from my wife’s side of the family involved in discussions and we were agonising over the storage processes and how time could affect the tests — if we needed to do it.

“Both families also want to lay David and Michelle to rest, have a viewing and farewell them with a funeral service.”

Meanwhile police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said they had already prepared the victims’ bodies to be released to the authorised US funeral services.

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