After struggling to identify one of the persons who they said died during Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands, local authorities today disclosed that they finally confirmed the identity of the fourth and final individual.
The other three, whose identities were released officially last Friday, are: Charles Thomas, Derek Ragnauth, and well-known athletics coach Xavier ‘Dag’ Samuels.
The fourth deceased, who was referred to as ‘John Doe’ up to yesterday, was identified last night by a family member, said the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).
It added that the once unidentified person is Richard Alan Benson, a 66-year-old native of California who resided at St John in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands.
“The Coroner’s Office has been informed and a postmortem is to be scheduled to determine the cause of death,” the RVIPF further said.
It stated that the body of Benson was found on rocks at the harbour entrance to the Moorings on Tortola following the category 5 hurricane that struck the territory on September 7.
A woman who identified herself as Benson’s ex-wife, Linda Worthington, recently said: “It is his families wish that his remains be cremated, and his ashes returned to the sea that he loved so dearly.”
“Richard’s body was found in the British Virgin Islands, and we have a ton of red tape and paperwork to complete before we can even transfer him back to US soil.”
Reports out of the USVI indicate that Benson left St John on his 84-foot wooden charter yacht known as the Goddess Athena. He did not arrive home, and so relatives started to appeal for information regarding his whereabouts.
Meanwhile, according to a report presented by the Department of Disaster Management and the National Emergency Operations Centre, 125 persons were injured locally during Irma.
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