THE REMAINS of Limerickman Jason Corbett, who was killed in the US over a week ago, are due to be flown home to Ireland this Thursday, but his family still have another emotional battle on their hands.
David Lynch, a brother in law of Jason, who is currently in the States, said the remains should arrive into Dublin Airport on Thursday.
However, funeral arrangements have yet to be announced, as they are waiting to finalise a custody battle in North Carolina for Jason’s two children, who are Irish citizens.
The children are currently under the care of their step-mother, Jason’s second wife, who is the chief suspect in the case.
Originally from a large family from Janesboro in the city, he was found dead at his home in Wallburg, North Carolina, with fatal head injuries on Sunday, August 2, following what was reported as a ‘domestic disturbance’.
No arrests have been made to date. A grand jury will decide next month whether his second wife, Molly Martens Corbett, will be charged with murder.
Police in the US have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with their inquiries, after a 911 call was made just after 3am on that date.
The 39-year-old moved to the US four years ago with his young children Sara and Jack, following the tragic death of his first wife and “soulmate” Mags in 2006, who passed away due to an asthma attack.
He is due to be buried alongside her when his remains are brought home to Limerick.
Meanwhile, family members and friends of the late Jason are continuing to try to bring worldwide attention to their campaign to bring his children home to Limerick, even tweeting US President Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian.
Under the hashtag #BringJackSarahHome on Twitter, they are also promoting the online petition to help bring the children home.
More than 2,000 people have signed it to date, ahead of a custody hearing in the US this Friday to determine the fate of the children.
A Facebook page on the same theme, Bring Jack and Sarah Home, has also received more than 12,000 ‘likes’ from the public.
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman and Limerick deputy Niall Collins says the Government must intervene urgently.
“At the highest level the Government has to intervene here because, as we’ve all being pointing out, the two children are Irish passport holders, they’re Irish citizens. It’s incumbent on the State, on the Irish Government to take every and any means and measures available to it to protect two Irish citizens”.
“These children, unfortunately, I think are at risk,” he added.
However, Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has insisted that Charlie Flanagan will get involved if it’s needed.
“I know the Minister is willing to intervene but there are processes there. The Department of Foreign Affairs has been extremely good in situations like this where these kinds of terrible situations happen to Irish citizens and has a lot of expertise in that area and I know that there is an absolute willingness to do everything that is possible to assist the family.”
“This is an extraordinarily terrible time for the family and a very, very distressing situation not only to lose their family members but also the concern about the children, but I understand there is a legal process which is about to take place in the United States,” she said.
Tracey and David Lynch, Jason’s sister and brother-in-law, were asked to be the children’s legal guardians, should anything happen to their father following the death of their biological mother.
The couple are now in the US and are fighting to bring the children home to Ireland with them.
But it’s understood that they may face a lengthy and costly legal battle.
“We have grave concerns for the health and wellbeing of these children. There should be no custody hearing. We are fighting to bring two Irish citizens home,” said Mr Lynch.
Mr Lynch has also been critical of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Consulate, saying they have been left to fight this battle on their own and they have been updating the department, rather than vice versa.
Marian Fitzpatrick, the grandmother of the two children - Jack, 10, and Sarah, 8, said: “I don’t know what happened [that night]. It’s so hard not knowing anything and not being able to speak to the kids. All we ask is that people help us to get my grandkids home so that they can be loved and looked after.”
St Munchins Community Centre in Limerick is holding a coffee morning this Thursday, August 13, from 9.30am - 10.30am in support of the family.
To make a financial contribution - TSB Dooradoyle, Limerick; Account No: 1124 0513; Sort Code: 99-07-51.
Jason’s remains are being brought home thanks to the assistance of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust. The trust was established by the parents of a young man from county Down who was killed in New York two years ago. It aims to help families whose loved ones have died in tragic and unforeseen circumstances while abroad. A PayPal account has also been set up to help the family. See their Facebook page for more details.