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Kitchener family seeks answers in son's death; says body was returned without his brain

Last Updated Nov 8, 2017 at 3:46 pm EST

Shirley and Morris Hewitt hold a picture of their son Shawn Edmonds. Edmonds was found dead on a bathroom floor in a Costa Rican hotel room on October 21st, 2017. (Photo: 570's Caryn Ceolin)

The family of a Kitchener man who died in Costa Rica has slammed a number of agencies both in Canada and abroad for the handling of their son’s death.

42-year-old Shawn Edmonds was found dead and in handcuffs on a bathroom floor in his hotel suite at a Guanacaste resort back on October 21st.

Costa Rican police say their investigation continues and they have not yet ruled whether Edmonds death should be considered suspicious or not.

Deputy Police Chief Randall Zúñiga tells 570 NEWS what happened to Edmonds. “On the night of the 21st, Mr. Edmonds tried to call someone at the front desk of the hotel. The policy at reception is a personal call cannot be made unless it is an emergency. After a woman at the desk told Mr. Edmonds that, he got into a verbal argument with the lady. He was then escorted back to his room by two security guards.”

Deputy Chief Zúñiga says the two security guards then asked for backup. “According to the guards, Mr. Edmonds was a strong man. At that point, they believed there could be a chance that a physical altercation could break out and they called for two additional guards to assist them.”

After that, Deputy Chief Zúñiga says a fight broke out, Edmonds was put in handcuffs, and told to calm down. Less than half an hour later, Edmonds was found dead on his bathroom floor.

The security guards then called police and a resort doctor pronounced Edmonds dead on scene.

Costa Rican authorities say they performed an autopsy on their own before sending his body back to Canada.

Edmonds’ mom Shirley Hewitt tells 570 NEWS that their son’s body was received without his brain. “I’m tired of hearing he said she said. I just want the truth and they can’t give me the truth. They did an autopsy down there (Costa Rica) and they took his heart and brain out. They put his heart back in, but they did not put his brain back.”

Hewitt says ever since they received the news of their son’s death on the front porch of their Kitchener home, it’s been nothing but run around. “I called the Costa Rican police and they told me nothing. I call them and they tell me they were just about to call me, but then they tell me they don’t know anything. I’m his mother and I want answers.”

570 NEWS reached out to Global Affairs Canada three times for comment on the death of Shawn Edmonds. This was their response:

“The department has nothing further to add beyond the response provided here. A Canadian tourist passed away at the RIU Hotel in Guanacaste. The press office of the Organism of Judicial Investigation, confirmed the man was 42-year-old and of last name Shawn. Apparently the man was arguing with someone at the hotel and the argument escalated to the point that the hotel security had to intervene, the man was handcuffed and they sat him down on a chair at which point he fainted, before he was able to receive medical attention the man passed away.”

We’ve also tried to independently confirm the family’s comment in regards to the brain of Edmonds being missing and what happened to it. The Office of the Chief Coroner & Ontario Forensic Pathology Service responded with this statement:

“Pursuant to the provisions of the Coroners Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, please be advised that information concerning a death investigation conducted by our office is not publicly available. All I can tell you is that we are conducting an investigation and that investigation is ongoing.”

A testimonial to Edmonds on the Go Fund Me page, reads in part:

“..We are hoping to find out what happened and find the justice we need for Shawn as we lay him to rest in peace.”

Edmonds is described as a father of two daughters who was, quote, “….a very loving, kind and caring man and loved by everyone.”