Oikos victims: Travel obstacle adds to family's grief

April 6, 2012 7:23:10 PM PDT
The grown children of one of the victims of the Oikos University shootings are struggling to fulfill their mother's final wishes.

Judith Seymour, 53, was among those killed Monday. She wanted to be buried in her homeland. But there's a problem that could leave one of her children from making the journey.

Her children, Camella and Brian, want to honor Judy's wishes to be buried in her home country of Guyana near her grandmother.

Brian has a valid passport to accompany his mother's body, but Camella's passport expired in 2010.

We have talked at length with a liaison from Senator Dianne Feinstein's office who is looking into the issue. Representative Anna Eshoo has also been briefed on the dilemma

"What we have here is a bureaucratic, logistical delay," said Gabriel Jack, an immigration attorney.

There may be a way to politically expedite Camella's passport needs and the family is also exploring options with the embassy in Guyana.

That may be a viable solution, according to Jack. "Usually the consulates in the foreign countries can verify all of those documents to be assured that the person really is indeed a US citizen and could issue the US passport," he said.

The Easter holiday appears to be slowing communication when time is of the essence.

Barbara Grover specializes in grief counseling and says Camella's journey to Guyana with her mother is an important part of the healing process.

"It offers comfort for people to be able to be present, to be witness to the final destination," she said.

Sen. Feinstein's office promised they would investigate. One option might be an expedited passport renewal. Another might be a travel exemption for this specific trip because of the extraordinary circumstances.


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