The family of an elderly man found dead in his home in Jamaica believe he was murdered while on vacation in the country.
Jamaican police say they investigated the “sudden death” of 79-year-old George Ramballie on Feb. 22 and do not suspect foul play.
The man’s son, Rick Ramballie tells CityNews he believes the series of events leading up to his father’s death are suspicious and require further investigation.
Ramballie says his father was a Canadian citizen and lived in the country for over 35 years. He owned a house in Portland Parish, Jamaica that was left in the care of a housekeeper.
George was visiting Portland for the first time in six years this January, when he reportedly suffered a fall and hit his head. He was hospitalized for three weeks and discharged after an MRI confirmed he was fit to be released.
George’s sister took him home from hospital and within a few hours of leaving the residence, received a call saying her brother was found dead by the housekeeper.
Ramballie says Jamaican police told him the death was a result of previous trauma from the fall. He says they issued a death certificate without conducting an autopsy or determining an official cause of death.
They also released his father’s body to the housekeeper, who listed herself as next-of-kin on police forms. Ramballie says she claimed to be unaware that George had children and did not attempt to contact his family before taking possession of the body.
Ramballie flew down to Jamaica in order to ensure an autopsy was conducted on his father’s body to determine the official cause of death. He says the results indicate his father suffered further blunt force trauma on the same spot he was previously injured, which ultimately killed him.
George’s body was brought back to Canada and a funeral was held on Saturday.
Global Affairs Canada says consular services are being provided to the family.
“Canadian consular officials in Jamaica are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information. Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed,” they said in an email statement.
Ramballie says he contacted Durham regional police on advice from Global Affairs Canada. He has provided a statement to police regarding the case and is now awaiting next steps.
CityNews reached out to Durham regional police regarding the case but they did not comment, citing privacy concerns.
In January, the Canadian government issued an advisory for those travelling to Jamaica due to a spike in violence in the country. The advisory remains in place and a “high degree of caution” is advised after a state of emergency was declared for St. James Parish which includes Montego Bay. Military forces were brought in to stabilize the situation.