Suspicions over death remain high
By Austin Grabish
The son of a Manitoba man who died in Mexico last week while serving a prison sentence is preparing for the return of his father’s body.
But Colt Vigfusson is demanding answers from officials in Ottawa about how his father’s case was handled, and why steps weren’t taken to prevent his death.
Bruce Vigfusson, 45, died in the Mexican city of Hermosillo last Monday. His body is to arrive in Winnipeg this week.
Colt says he found out about his father’s death through an inmate, who called to break the news, while officials with the Canadian Embassy in Mexico stayed silent.
“It makes me sick that I find out from an inmate about his death,” he said.
“When I called the embassy they didn’t even know what I was talking about, and that’s their job. They’re supposed to be looking after him over there.”
The Canadian government refused to cover the costs of sending the body home, and with no way to pay, his family turned to a GoFundMe page.
Donations quickly began to pour in, and on Monday $6,845 had been raised.
“We got really fortunate with everyone who’s contributed,” said Colt, who still remains unsure of how his father died.
He said Mexican officials claim his dad died in hospital from a blood clot in his lung, but an autopsy has yet to confirm that, and suspicions over the death remain high.
Vigfusson was serving a prison sentence for a 2012 assault that took place during a home invasion in which he allegedly beat a thief out of self-defence.
The Lundar man repeatedly maintained his innocence, and insisted he was only acting in self-defence while his home was invaded.
In the days leading up to his death, he left a desperate message for his son.
“The message said I’m very sick. These people are injecting me with stuff that’s getting me weaker, so I can’t fight back.”
The message came just weeks after his dad’s lawyer tried to present new evidence to a Mexican court that contained audio from a 911 call made during the night of the home invasion, Colt said.
“He figured they were killing him, because they were going to have to let him off free if he got off not guilty, and they would have had to back pay him for all of his time served.”
Colt said officials with the Canadian Embassy last visited his father in March, and refused to check on his body after he died due to safety concerns.
He wants Global Affairs Canada to change how its consular officials in Mexico handle cases like his father’s.
“I hope someone can step up and change their protocol or organization, because I would never want another family to go through what me and my family went through,” he said.
A spokesperson with Global Affairs Canada refused to comment on specifics of the case citing privacy concerns.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the Canadian Citizen who passed away in Mexico,” wrote Amy Mills in an email.