Alishia Liolli shown left. (Photo courtesy of Aislinn Liolli)

Offer of help to repatriate LaSalle woman’s body rejected by family

Alishia Liolli’s mother wants to thank Mike Mosgrove for offering his help repatriating her daughter’s body from the Bahamas but said she could not accept it.

Josie Donagh has been trying to have Alishia Liolli’s body returned to Canada since finding out her daughter died during Hurricane Dorian on the Abaco Islands, a mission that has become its own nightmare.

As of Tuesday, the family had chartered a plane to fly Liolli’s body to a funeral home in Nassau, but are getting conflicting reports when the flight will take place.

To make matters worse, what she thought were Canadian embassy officials she was communicating with, were actually employees at a private company in Michigan handling the file.

“I’ve been talking to U.S. people that our government hired,” she said, holding back tears. “When I first called Ottawa to see if they could help us, they said yes. Then they gave the file to a private company.”

BlackburnNews.com has reached out to Global Affairs Canada to see if requests, like the Liolli family’s, are given to a private firm routinely, or if the government contracted the business because of the conditions in The Bahamas after the hurricane.

It received a response via email from Barbara Harvey, a spokeswoman with the government agency.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the loved ones of the Canadian citizen who died in the Bahamas in the area affected by Hurricane Dorian.  Canadian consular officials are providing assistance to the family at this difficult time.  Out of respect for the family, no further information will be released,” she wrote.

While officials in the Bahamas suspect the death toll to rise as more bodies are found, Liolli’s body has been recovered. McDonagh’s son-in-law has been trying to get paperwork for the transfer in order, but with infrastructure destroyed on the islands, it has been challenging.

Mosgrove made the family the offer because he frequently does business in the Caribbean. He operates a recycling company in Jamaica.

“I’m very versed as to what goes on in the Carribean especially under trying times of hurricanes and all we were trying to do is assist because I know the issues down there,” said Mosgrove. “They’re overwhelmed, and rightfully so.”

McDonagh will not say why the offer was turned down.

“We’d like to thank him for the work that he has put in the last few days, but for reasons that we can not disclose, we can not comment on that,” she said.

In the meantime, McDonagh said she is waiting for any word when her daughter’s body will be returned for a proper funeral and burial.