Daughter starved to death in paradise
PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 October 2010
MYSTERY surrounds the death of a woman from Weston who was found starving by her brother in a Caribbean apartment.
Virginia Owen, aged 48, died in hospital a day after she was discovered severely under-nourished in her Dominican Republic home on October 13.
Her brother Daniel had flown out to find her after her ex-husband, who lives in Newbury, had raised the alarm after speaking to her on the phone.
She had been living with two people including her ex-boyfriend, Swedish national Hans Michelle Magnusson.
Following her death her parents, who live in Weston, found that none of her family members had been mentioned in her will.
An investigation has been launched by island police and consular assistance is being provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Her mother, Rosemary Walkley, of Dunster Crescent on the Oldmixon estate, said she was desperate to see whoever was responsible for her daughter’s death brought to justice.
She said the family had, in recent months, lost regular contact with Virginia, who moved to the Dominican Republic four years ago.
She said: “We are desperate to find out exactly what happened to her and why she was allowed to fall into such an ill state. It is devastating for all of us to see the pictures of how she was found, she looks in so much pain.
“I just don’t know how this happened. She was such a happy girl, someone who lived life to the full.”
Virginia grew up in Weston and later worked at a Thresher’s store in the town before moving to Newbury in 1991 after marrying Lee Owen.
But she then split up with Mr Owen to begin a new life, a decision Mrs Walkley claims was motivated by a ‘travel bug’.
Mrs Walkley said: “She had plenty of savings and sold many of her shares to move out to the Dominican Republic. She took around £200,000.
“She didn’t have to work and at first seemed to be really enjoying it. However, in recent months we knew something was wrong.
“We started getting hate emails and we became increasingly concerned. Her ex-husband then contacted us and we rang her and spoke to her boyfriend.
“We could hear her moaning in pain in the background, but he said he could not afford to take her to hospital.”
Virginia’s brother Daniel immediately took a flight out to see her, finding her lying in bed in her apartment in Sosua ‘at death’s door’.
He took her to hospital, but she died a day later.
A post-mortem examination revealed she had starved to death.
Mrs Walkley said: “We just want to know what happened to our girl. We’re desperate for information but we’re getting very little.
“We’re all devastated and are trying all channels.”