By Delaney Windigo
APTN National News
SASKATOON–What began as a journey to Nigeria for love has ended in a nightmare.
A Saskatchewan family is struggling to bring back the body of a woman who died in Nigeria after marrying a local man she met online.
Debra Pine left Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation in February to marry a man known as “Martin.”
A month after the marriage, Pine died from septicaemia, a serious bacterial infection, and her body lies in a morgue, thousands of kilometres away from her family.
Now Pine’s family claims the body is being held hostage by Martin, who has a final say over what happens as the legal next of kin under Nigerian law.
The family said they believe the man wants to use the death as a means to come to Canada.
“I know he said he loves her, but I think his intentions were just to get to Canada,” said family friend Pamela Baldhead.
The family said they have the money in place to bring Pine home and only the widower stands in their way.
“At first, I was pretty confident that he would (let the body go), but now it’s like to me he is playing some kind of mind game with us,” said daughter Sheryl Horse. “Everything is already arranged, it’s just that he has to sign the release, to release her body.”
Pine’s death has left her nine children grieving.
“She was everything to everybody and we miss her,” said Baldhead. “We just want her home, we need her home.”
Nigeria is also currently in the midst of an election and the family is having a difficult time making contact with any government officials.