Kitchener investigator joins fight for answers in local man’s death in Costa Rica

By cceolin

Months after a Kitchener man’s sudden death in Costa Rica, his family is getting some help trying to unravel the truth behind what happened.

There are many unanswered questions surrounding the death of 42-year-old Shawn Edmonds at the Hotel Riu Guanacaste in October of 2017, following an alleged altercation with resort staff. Why was he restrained by hotel security? Why was he handcuffed to a chair? And why was his body returned to Canada without a brain?

A private investigator is hoping to find out.

Kerry Reyes has worked as an investigator in Kitchener for many years, probing fraudulent death claims abroad for insurance companies with a specialty in Latin America. She’s now looking into the Edmonds’ case pro bono, after hearing his mother’s story.

“You could see a lady who was doing everything within her strength and power and knowledge to try to get a response in reference to her son’s passing, and she wasn’t having the fortune of getting those answers,” Reyes tells 570 NEWS. “I just wanted to reach out to her and see if I could walk along this journey with her.”

Shirley Hewitt says she’s hit a brick wall, as four months after her son’s death, she still hasn’t received the original pathology and coroner’s report.

“Global Affairs has been doing nothing and they’re not telling me what’s going on,” says Hewitt. “I am tired of asking the same questions over and over.”

Right now Reyes is in the data collection stage of her investigation. That’s involved reaching out to the RIU Hotel & Resorts legal department headquartered in Spain for a full disclosure of events, including video footage from the hotel lobby, and the names and any statements from all employees involved in the alleged fight with Edmonds.

The next step is to reach out to the funeral home in Costa Rica and then the coroner’s office in San Jose.

“I’m finding out more about her investigation than I am from [Canadian government and Costa Rican officials],” Hewitt says. “She’s my guardian angel.”

“I can’t promise Shirley the world that’s for sure, and I wish I could promise to bring back her son and I can’t,” says Reyes. “But what we can do is engage the right people … and advocate for this family.”

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