Body of BVIslander ‘disappears’ from funeral home

BVI News Online

A family with deep roots in Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, has been busy trying to solve one of the most heart-wrenching mysteries one could face following the death of a loved one.

They are trying to find the body of a 95-year-old relative who was left in the care of a well-known funeral home on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

Lyra Elvira Sewer Collazo, a BVIslander who spent most of her years on St. Thomas, was affectionately called Aunt Lyra. She died on August 29.+

Relatives of Aunt Lyra told BVI News Online that she was probably shipped to St. Kitts and Nevis and interred there, instead of remaining on St. Thomas where her resting place was prepared.

Authorities in the US Virgin Islands are likely to hold talks with the Nevis government in order for the body to be exhumed and brought back to St. Thomas if it is found to be that of Aunt Lyra.

It is also understood that a legal battle may be in the offing between relatives of the deceased and the funeral home.
How it all unfolded Aunt Lyra had become very frail and ill, and was living with relatives on St. Thomas.

During a trip to a doctor on that US island, she was pronounced dead.

Arrangements were successfully made for the funeral home to pick up Aunt Lyra’s body.

Thinking that the corpse was tagged and under proper supervision at the funeral home, the family went ahead with funeral preparations. Several relatives converged on St. Thomas from different countries including the BVI in order to pay their last respects to Aunt Lyra.

She was scheduled to be buried on September 20, following a viewing on September 19.

While the viewing was taking place, one of Aunt Lyra’s relatives shockingly raised an alarm that the body was not that of her family member.
Her observation was shared by other persons who dashed towards the casket. The viewing ended abruptly, and the thanksgiving service which was set for the next day had to be postponed.

A boat-load of relatives from Jost Van Dyke who were not aware of the postponement reportedly journeyed to St. Thomas for the funeral the following day, only to find the doors to the church closed.

Reports reaching BVI News Online are that the funeral home was contacted, but it allegedly noted that the features of the body probably changed due to embalmment.
During investigations, it was discovered that Aunt Lyra’s body was probably mistakenly sent to St. Kitts and Nevis.

Reports reaching BVI News Online are that the funeral home was in possession of another body that was to be sent to Nevis; that of a woman who was reportedly married to a BVIslander with the surname Parsons. She however lived on St. John in the US Virgin Islands up to the time of her death.

Reports suggest that Parson’s relatives also raised questions about her identity before the body was shipped to Nevis. They too were reportedly told that her physical features may have changed due to embalmment.

While the devastating saga unfolds, the families of both deceased women are trying to come to grips with their double losses.
In the middle of all the confusion is the funeral home which is said to be in discussion with the relatives of Aunt Lyra.

BVI News Online contacted the funeral home but was told that the manager was out of office. We were also told that our call would have been returned, but that did not happen up to publication time.

The name of the funeral home is being withheld at this time.

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