November 9, 2017 9:42 pm
Updated: November 9, 2017 10:11 pm

Canadian man’s body brought back from Costa Rica without brain, half a heart, family says

Thu, Nov 9: An Ontario family is seeking answers from the Canadian government and Costa Rican officials, after their son died at a resort there last month. As Shallima Maharaj reports, it isn't just the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death that have them disturbed.


After learning of the sudden death of her 42-year-old son at a Costa Rican resort, a Canadian mother is looking for answers as to how it happened.

Shawn Edmonds was staying at the Hotel Riu Guanacaste. He was in the Central American country for a friend’s wedding.

He died at the hotel and his death is now being investigated by authorities in Costa Rica.

“I don’t want to hear hearsay. I want the truth,” Shirley Hewitt said.

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Sitting down with Global News, she said thus far government officials haven’t had much to tell her.

In fact, much of the information she has been receiving is from journalists in Costa Rica and Canada.

Some reports have painted Edmonds as an aggressive tourist that hotel staff and police had to detain, and while sitting in a chair, he grew weak and died.

There has also been a suggestion the father of two suffered a heart attack.

“He was healthy. Healthy. He’s never had a problem with his heart,” Hewitt replied. “He never had that, so I don’t believe that.”

READ MORE: Mother of Montreal man missing in Peru since September says he may have been abducted

An autopsy was performed on Edmonds in Costa Rica. Hewitt told Global News when her son’s body was brought back to Canada, it was missing his brain and half of his heart.

“I have to lay him to rest and I know he’s not whole. I know I have to live with that, but that’s going to haunt me.”

Hewitt said when she saw her son’s body, his face was covered in bruises and his nose appeared as though it had been damaged.

After multiple attempts to reach Global Affairs, a spokesperson issued a statement over email late Thursday afternoon:

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the Canadian Citizen who passed away in Costa Rica. Canadian consular officials are working closely with local officials to gather more information and are providing consular assistance to the family and friends as required. To protect the privacy of the individual concerned, further details on this case cannot be released.”

A spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Coroner & Ontario Forensic Pathology Service replied to our inquiry over email. The statement reads in part:

“…the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act prevents our office from publicly releasing details of our death investigations…

What I can tell you is that we did perform a second autopsy on Mr. Edmonds at the request of the family and that our investigation is ongoing…”

Global News also reached out to the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial – the judicial investigation department – but did not receive a response in time for the publication of this article.

In the meantime, Shirley Hewitt is appealing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Global Affairs.

“Shawn is a Canadian. I want answers.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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