Alrae Ramsey, left, and Blair John
By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE father of Blair John, one of two Bahamian men found dead in an Italian river earlier this month, said he does not accept autopsy results that state his son died by drowning.
The bodies of Alrae Ramsey, 29, and John, 28, were found in the Po River in Turin, Italy, on June 4 and 5 respectively. According to some Italian news outlets, results of the autopsies conducted last week state drowning as the cause of death.
Randolph John, 56, added that if the men indeed drowned, it meant that they were “incapacitated” before being tossed in the river. He also rejected the idea that his son or Ramsey did drugs.
Mr John said: “If I was born three times again I wouldn’t accept that. If it was in fact a drowning then it means that they were incapacitated prior to being thrown in the river. That’s what it would mean.”
Shortly after the men’s bodies were found, John’s mother Cathleen Rahming told The Tribune that he was a strong swimmer and fit.
On June 12, Italian news media reported the anticipated results of the outcome of the toxicological analysis, which stated traces of alcohol was found in the blood of the young men.
“Guess what…Do you reach a PhD status (messing) with drugs? I know my son and I know his friend. They probably might drink a little bit of alcohol but these are civilised persons with their heads screwed on right,” Mr John said.
“Do you reach that point in your life at that age, if you’re not focused?”
When asked if he has seen any updates as to when the men’s bodies could be returned home, Mr John replied: “No. They basically waiting for the death certificate. Can’t move without that.”
John’s father was also asked if he thinks Italian investigators are doing all they can to investigate the matter.
To this, he replied: “Let me tell you: I would reserve my comment, because I have my own comments. But given the facts that we have our persons who have to deal with it through a diplomatic channel first, I reserve my comment.”
Last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis underscored his confidence in the Italian authorities’ ability to investigate this case.
These remarks followed an earlier statement he had released, assuring the families of the two young men that the government is doing “everything it can” to ensure that their bodies are returned to The Bahamas “as soon as possible”.
Ramsey, a foreign service officer on study leave in Vienna, was reportedly in Turin on a break. He and his friend, John, were staying at a bed and breakfast establishment at Via la Loggia 2 in Turin.
John, a 28-year-old Saint Mary’s University graduate student, was there to attend a psychology conference.
The men both attended the same high school, Saint Augustine’s College in New Providence.
Mr John added that he has been receiving updates about the matter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but he has been given no information about when the bodies will be returned to the Bahamas.
“The updates tend to be coming from Foreign Affairs,” Mr John said. “They normally call and, at least today said they didn’t have any updates.”
He added that none of his family members are currently in Italy.
When asked for an update yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said there are “no updates” regarding when the bodies of the two Bahamian men will be sent to the Bahamas.
Mr Henfield added that reports that their bodies will be sent this week are “unconfirmed”.