Remains set to be repatriated

US couple Michelle and David. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

LIVING in an area that has weak internet reception, Marsha Cutlip Paul has not let the “turmoil” and “drama” surrounding the death of her son, David, disrupt the pace of her relationship with God.

She kept up with the “chaos” only when connectivity allowed her to open her emails or access messages on Facebook.

She answered phone calls when she could, but her priority over the past two weeks had been in devoting her entire time on two of David’s young sons who had come to spend the school holidays at her home in West Virginia.

So when told that arrangements were being made to ship her son’s remains back to the United States, Mrs Cutlip Paul recited Psalms 100 from the Bible — a prayer for grateful praise.

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,” she said.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said yesterday that David’s remains were being prepared for repatriation.

He said the issue of repatriation was not straightforward and had processes and protocols to follow.

“This is not a Ministry of Health case,” he said.

“It’s a case involving forensics, coroners, police, family, and all other stakeholders who are involved.”

The families of David and Michelle Paul had expressed great dismay when they were informed on Monday that David’s body was deteriorating faster than his wife’s and that cremation was being considered.

Since David died on May 27 – two days after Michelle succumbed to the yet to be named illness – the families felt that both bodies had to be examined holistically in the forensic search for clues on what killed them.

Upon receiving the news yesterday, Michelle’s father, Marc Calanog, said he was relieved.

“This is good news,” he said.

The United Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told both families earlier this week that tests for toxins were almost completed.

A forensic laboratory in Australia began to test for toxins to determine whether the couple were poisoned after influenza and infectious disease were ruled out.

Michelle’s remains was shipped to the United States on Tuesday for further forensic examination.

She died on May 25, a day after the couple fell violently ill.

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