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Relatives of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga seek answers in his death

Family seeks answers in immigration detainee’s death



TORONTO – A Chilean man’s family is pleading with the Canadian government to explain why the father of four died in jail as an immigration detainee earlier this month.

Relatives of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga, who was found dead in his cell at Milton’s Maplehurst Correctional Complex on March 13, spoke with the media in Toronto from their home in Chile on Wednesday.

The family, represented by Astorga’s brother, Esteban, says nobody from the federal government has contacted them to explain how Astorga died, or why he was taken into custody in the first place.

“We are utterly in the dark,” Esteban said.

Since the family doesn’t know the cause of death, he said, they can’t collect Astorga’s Chilean-government “pension” for his kids.

The Chilean Consulate contacted the family about Astorga’s death, he said.

Esteban said his brother, who came to Canada to “rebuild” his life, had been detained twice by the Canada Border Services Agency — once at the airport after arriving in Canada in October 2015, and again in January.

He remained in jail until his death in March.

Esteban said the only time CBSA contacted the family was after the first detainment. Relatives were asked about Astorga’s health, and if he was on any medication.


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