What to do if a family member dies overseas

Police call it a suicide. Family calls it a murder. What really happened to Nara Pech?. 16x9

Canadian Nara Pech was travelling in Southeast Asia in January, 2015 when he died at an airport in Vientiane, Laos. The family didn’t know what to do or who to turn to following Nara’s death overseas.

READ MORE: TIMELINE: Who killed Nara Pech?

16×9 looked at the steps to take if a family member dies overseas and what role consular officials can play in the event of a death abroad.

How Foreign Affairs can assist in a death abroad

Non-suspicious death
Canadian consular officials have no legal obligation to act but may directly liaise funeral service providers both in Canada and on the ground at the family’s request. Consular officials may also liaise with local authorities to ensure the repatriation of the body is done in a timely manner.

Suspicious death
When a death involving a Canadian abroad requires an investigation local authorities on the ground are responsible. Canadian consular officials may liaise with local authorities upon the family’s request; duties includes ensuring the investigation happens in a transparent and timely manner and keeping the family up-to-date. It should be noted Canadian officials have no legal obligation to get involved.

Canadian law enforcement cannot investigate in other countries unless requested by local authorities to do so.


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