‘I said no’ to son’s cremation

US couple Michelle and David. Picture: SUPPLIED/FAMILY

THE mother of an American man who died in Fiji a few days after falling violently sick does not want her son’s remains cremated.

And Marsha Cutlip Paul said she explicitly stated her position on the issue in a reply to an email which sought her permission to cremate the body of her 38-year-old son, David Paul.

“I said no,” she said from West Virginia yesterday.

“The email said David’s body cannot be returned unless it is cremated.

“I did not give permission to cremate him because his body was released and we were waiting for his body to be shipped over with Michelle’s (David’s wife) for further forensic investigation.”

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

Mrs Cutlip Paul said she didn’t know why the bodies were still in Fiji.

“In fact, when I received the email I was shocked the bodies were still in Fiji. I didn’t know they were still in Fiji. I thought they were already here.

“Nothing is making sense and nobody is saying why his body is deteriorating faster than Michelle’s. “We were told they were embalmed and sealed.

“And early last week we were told they were released and ready to be shipped.

“So what’s happening there I don’t know. “I just want my son to come home so we can find out what really happened to them.

“In the beginning, so many things we were told had been done and then we find out later it was not done.

“I really cannot see why a container cannot be found that can keep his remains sealed properly. I’m sure there is a way of shipping it across.

“I just can’t believe this is happening.”

Mrs Cutlip Paul said she had yet to hear from Fiji but was hopeful. Meanwhile, Michelle’s father, Marc Calanog, said his daughter’s remains were awaiting confirmation of flight bookings.

In earlier interviews he had asked that investigations treat both deaths holistically and not as separate cases.

He said since they both got sick at the same time, and suffered similar symptoms, the cause of death would be the same.

The families expect to hear from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week on whether the couple were poisoned.

Investigations started testing for toxins after influenza and infectious diseases were ruled out as causes of the deaths.

The couple fell sick on May 24 and Michelle died the next day. David succumbed to the yet to be identified illness on May 27.

They leave behind a two-year-old son and three of David’s children from previous relationships.

The Fiji Times spoke to the Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete on Monday and again yesterday but he has yet to respond to the concerns raised by the families.

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