Daughter waits to bring parents home after Winnipeg couple found dead in Jamaica
Debbie Olfert flew to Jamaica to ID the bodies and couldn't recognize her mother
A Winnipeg woman whose parents were killed in Jamaica two weeks ago is still waiting for answers about their deaths and hoping she can soon bring their bodies back to Canada.
Melbourne Flake, 81, and Etta Flake, 70, were discovered in their home in St. Thomas on Jan. 9.
The couple, who immigrated to Canada more than 50 years ago and made Winnipeg their home, often travelled back to their homeland in their retirement and recently finished building a vacation home there.
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"I'm not really allowing myself the freedom to grieve, because there's so much that has to be done," said the couple's daughter, Debbie Olfert.
She recently flew to Jamaica to meet with police and file paperwork to have her parents' bodies released by the medical examiner.
She has spoken with investigators and toured the home where her parents were found, but said police haven't told her much about what happened because they don't want to compromise the investigation.
"We did a walk through the home, the scene of the murder, and that was like a scene out of CSI. It was just awful," said Olfert.
Coming to terms with the fact her parents are gone has been difficult, she added
"It's unbelievable. It's like a nightmare."
Olfert had to identify the bodies and couldn't recognize her own mother.
"They had destroyed her face and I couldn't recognize her, and the only way I knew it was her … was [that] she was wearing a necklace that she always wore," she said.
Olfert said the violence in the country is unsettling and there have been several reports of murders in the local newspapers.
The Canadian government is warning travellers to exercise a high degree of caution when visiting the area.
In a statement on its website, it says the warning is "due to the high level of violent crime and the state of emergency in St James Parish," which is the area where Montego Bay, a popular tourist destination, is located.
Since travelling there, Olfert has seen armed soldiers in the streets and even came upon the scene of a shooting.
Her parents lived on the other side of the island in what she describes as a quiet neighbourhood.
It can't take forever. They are Canadian citizens [and] we need them back home. We need them in Winnipeg so we can have some closure on this.- Debbie Olfert
"I think the world has its eye on Jamaica and the murders here are just unbelievable. And certainly, I understand that the police are stretched beyond their capacity."
She said she hopes the high rate of crime in the country doesn't tie up her parents' case.
"It can't take forever. They are Canadian citizens [and] we need them back home. We need them in Winnipeg so we can have some closure on this. We want the bodies to be laid to rest."
Olfert plans to meet with investigators on Tuesday to find out more about when she may be able to bring her parents home.
She hopes whoever is responsible for her parents' deaths will be caught.
"I just need them to face justice," she said.