Family members of Dr Joseph Horgan, the 66-year-old visitor whose body was found in BVI waters last Thursday, have expressed some amount distress that their loved one’s body is still stuck in the BVI as local authorities investigate his death.
The United States citizen’s body is currently laying in the territory’s morgue facilities at Peebles Hospital and Police Commissioner Micheal Matthews said the body cannot be released until a coroner’s report is completed.
While giving an update on the investigation on Wednesday, Commissioner Matthews said his department is currently awaiting medical records of the deceased man to proceed with their probe.
“These records have been requested and the [Royal Virgin Islands Police] Force has been liaising with the family of Dr Horgan, hoping to receive these urgently. These historical records are vital to the investigation process into determining the circumstances of the death of Dr Horgan,” Matthews said.
“At the immediate conclusion of the investigation, a file, inclusive of the medical records of the deceased which remain outstanding, will be presented to the coroner’s office and it will be necessary for an autopsy to take place. The autopsy will only be scheduled upon the completion of the investigations, per standard protocols,” then top cop added.
The police commissioner explained that the investigative process also includes the collection of statements from witnesses, which he says assists the pathologist in determining the cause of death and ‘opine on the manner of death, if necessary’.
“Thereafter, the pathologist issues his report to the coroner, who then issues to the Civil Registry of the British Virgin Islands, the legally required documents for Dr Horgan’s death to be officially registered and for his body to be released to the family,” Commissioner Matthews said.
He continued: “It must be noted that the relevant officials are exercising the usual due care and attention to this matter. The inquiries being conducted are standard and legally required in the investigations of all sudden deaths that occur in the territory,” said Mattews, who noted that his department recognizes the mourning family’s distress.
We can’t rest knowing our father’s body is still away
The deceased man’s son, Jason Hogan, is reported as telling US news media, Local10, that the autopsy on his father is being stalled because of BVI policies and because of the Christmas holidays.
“As of right now, it stands that nothing will be done with him until January 3, when the medical examiner is back from vacation,” the grieving son reportedly said.
“We can’t rest knowing that our father is in a cooler somewhere on an island. He’s not even with us,” he added.
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