Editorial comment – Mysterious turn of events

David and Michelle with their son, 2-year-old Ayden. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE death of American couple Michelle and David Paul is attracting attention for many reasons.

There is the mystery surrounding their deaths in Nadi after they fell violently ill, and there is the time factor.

The couple died days apart after arriving in Fiji on May 22 for a dream holiday.

The couple fell sick on May 24 and Michelle died the next day.

David succumbed to the yet to be identified illness on May 27.

They leave behind a two-year-old son and three of David’s children from previous relationships.

They were quite enthusiastic about life.

That much we can get off discussions with very close family members.

They loved life.

They lived life to the brim and enjoyed travelling to destinations around the world.

They loved snorkelling, hiking, and sightseeing.

They loved each other and valued their family.

In fact when they became ill, they each contacted their mother.

They messaged them their health status as the “mystery illness” affected them in Nadi.

They were in a foreign country, and fell back on their family for reassurance.

Investigations have so far been inconclusive.

Investigations started testing for toxins after influenza and infectious diseases were ruled out as causes of the deaths.

Now as their families await the repatriation of their bodies to the United States, David’s mother received an email seeking her permission to cremate the body of her 38-year-old son.

Marsha Cutlip Paul said she explicitly stated her position on the issue in her reply to the email.

“I said no,” she said from West Virginia yesterday.

“The email said David’s body cannot be returned unless it is cremated.

“I did not give permission to cremate him because his body was released and we were waiting for his body to be shipped over with Michelle’s (David’s wife) for further forensic investigation.”

The revelation comes in the wake of twists and turns in the case.

Mrs Cutlip Paul is still unsure why the bodies are still in Fiji.

She claimed the families were told the bodies were embalmed and sealed, and early last week, they were released and ready to be shipped.

The circumstances surrounding the deaths have aroused curiosity, and raised questions locally and internationally.

The onus is on the powers that be to get to the bottom of this issue, and for the sake of Fijians and the couple’s family members, bring closure to this turn of events.

Someone must be responsible to pass on the correct message to the families.

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