Family of Winnipeg couple killed in Jamaica now able to bring them home

The family of two Winnipeg seniors who were killed at their vacation home in Jamaica say their bodies should be brought back to Canada by Wednesday.

No arrests have yet been made in the deaths of Melbourne and Etta Flake, killed at vacation home in Jamaica

Melbourne Flake and Etta Flake were found dead in their vacation home in Jamaica Jan. 9, 2018. (Melbourne & Etta Flake Fund/GoFundMe)

The family of two Winnipeg seniors killed in their vacation home in Jamaica say the couple's bodies should be back in Canada by Wednesday.

Officials in Jamaica released the bodies of Melbourne Flake, 81, and Etta Flake, 70, on Friday, said their daughter Laverne Francis.

The couple was found dead at the vacation home on Jan. 9. Their bodies and home showed signs of a brutal assault.

Francis, the youngest of the Flakes' five children, said the last two weeks have been surreal.

"One moment I'll be hanging in there and the next it's a little difficult," she said.

On Friday the family received the final paperwork needed before the bodies can be brought home, including a postmortem report which will allow a Jamaican funeral home to begin preparing them for transport.

"We are believing that Tuesday or Wednesday is when my mom and dad will make it back to Winnipeg," said Francis.

Police still investigating

Police continue to investigate the assault on her parents. No arrests have been made but Jamaican police have told the family they have "strong leads," said Francis.

For the daughter and her siblings, that's not enough. They are calling on Jamaican authorities to invite Interpol to the country so Canadian detectives can assist in the investigation.

No arrests have been made yet in the deaths of Melbourne and Etta Flake. (Submitted by Debbie Olfert)

"It's just easier to bring horrible, horrible murder to justice if we are working collaboratively together to try to figure out who did this," Francis said.

Family plans gathering in Winnipeg

The cost of transferring the bodies, $13,500 US, is just a "drop in the bucket" in terms of expenses the family is facing, said close family friend Grace Koetke.

The family is spread out across Canada and the United States and Koetke said memorial costs, along with plane flights, are the last thing she wanted the family to think about.

She has started an GoFundMe donation page and a donation account with TD Canada Trust.

"I want them to feel they are supported," Koetke said. "I want them to be able to, rather than worry about how they're going to come up with finances, put their parents to rest."

Koetke said when she first met the Flakes they immediately made her feel like part of the family.

Melbourne was "eclectic and funny" and Etta was the "sweetest, kindest woman, who embraced her daughter's friends as if they were family," she said.

'People who were sweet and kind and caring'

"It doesn't seem fair that people who were so sweet and kind and caring, and contributed to the well-being of so many people, that that would happen to them."

After the Flakes' death, the Canadian government issued a warning advising travellers going to Montego Bay to avoid leaving secure resort areas because of high crime rates in Jamaica.


Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Ottawa. Previously, she worked as a reporter in Winnipeg and as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at