(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – A MAN reportedly abducted by Venezuelan pirates while fishing off Moruga three months ago was killed after being injured in an explosion during an operation involving Venezuelan security forces.
The death of Adrian Anthony Hospedales was reported on Venezuelan news websites, and his family was contacted by people in Tucupita who confirmed the death.
Relatives are now calling on the State to help bring his body home.
Hospedales, 34, of Gran Chemin, was a former soldier and fisherman allegedly abducted with two other fishermen and taken to Venezuela by Spanish-speaking men.
The three men went fishing on January 23, but days later the family received a telephone call that they had been kidnapped.
The two other men were subsequently released and returned home, but Hospedales did not.
The family said they did not know who the other kidnapped men were.
Initially, relatives said the kidnappers demanded US$30,000. However, this changed when they were told to send a boat filled with grocery items such as toiletries, medical supplies, canned food items and some cash.
Relatives said they were able to speak with Adrian when his abductors allowed him use of a cellphone.
He begged the family to send the items for his release.
Family members have been told Hospedales died on Saturday and his body now lies at the morgue at the Dr Luis Razetti Hospital in Tucupita.
His mother, Urmine Hospedales, told the Express yesterday: “Eventually, we were able to speak to someone who went down there to the morgue and to let them know that the family wants the body and are willing to go through the process so they don’t get rid of the body.
“They told us they have a high body count and they have no electricity and limited space to store the body.
“They told us we could pay to embalm him so the body could stay. We trying to get help. Time is of the essence in getting the body back home.
“We need the closure, and we need him to come home to give him a proper burial.
“We are organising to pay the hospital US$700 to embalm the body through Western Union today. We need help because they don’t have coffins to transport the body.”
She said officials at the morgue told her how her son died.
“My son had his fisherman identification on him at the time of his death, so hospital officials in Venezuela knew he was a fisherman from Moruga in Trinidad.
“They contacted their sources here and the photo was circulated. My family eventually got the photo, that was on Tuesday.
“I did not want to look at it because I did not want to believe he was dead, but as soon as I saw the photo I knew it was him,” she added.
Urmine Hospedales said her son would often visit Venezuela, taking with him food stuff and medical supplies particularly for children and the elderly.
She admitted that though her son was no “saint” he did make amends for his ways by helping others.
According to Venezuelan news reports, Adrian Hospedales was caught up in an armed incursion when the Venezuelan security forces carried out an operation in the north of the town.
Urmine Hospedales is appealing to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and National Security Minister Stuart Young to intervene to bring her son’s body home soon.
There was no immediate response from Young to questions posed by the Express yesterday.