The devastated parents of slain Chinese student Lin Jun are calling on his accused killer to face justice in Canada as quickly as possible, recalling their only son as a beloved child who represented their "pride and hope."
The Lin family remains in Montreal awaiting official clearance from authorities that will allow them to honour their son's memory and obtain a measure of closure.
"They want a death certificate before they have a memorial. It's the main reason keeping them in Montreal right now," said Yan Shi, president of the Concordia Chinese Students Association, who has been in touch with family members. "Only after can they move on emotionally, and can physically go back to China."
However, officials from the Quebec coroner's office say the victim's body is undergoing DNA testing by the province's forensics lab in Montreal. Until the lab completes results and makes a formal identification, the coroner cannot release the body to the family.
That process should be finished this week, according to the coroner's office.
"We hope to confirm the identity in the next few days," said Geneviève Guilbault, a spokeswoman for the coroner's office. Only then can a death certificate be issued by Quebec's civil authorities.
The suspect in Mr. Lin's murder and dismemberment, Ontario-born Luka Magnotta, remains in custody in Berlin after fleeing Canada last month. His extradition is expected this month. The case gained notoriety after the victim's hands and feet were mailed to two federal parties in Ottawa and two schools in Vancouver.
While the lurid details of Mr. Lin's murder have captured world attention, the victim's family is seeking to cast a light on the person behind the gruesome headlines – a 33-year-old believer in Buddhism whom they described as a loving and considerate son, a top student, a model employee and an optimistic and trusting friend.
Members of Mr. Lin's family, including two relatives from the United States, spoke out for the first time through a statement released to the media.
"This tragic loss is not only a devastating attack to our family, but also has had a tremendous impact on the whole society," it said.
The relatives, who arrived in Montreal last week, have met with city police and officials, as well as officials from Concordia University, where Mr. Lin had enrolled in the engineering and computer science faculty.
"Everyone has showed great sympathy and compassionate support to help to make things easier for us," they said. "It is our wish to take this opportunity to turn a devastating situation into something positive that brings the goodness and peace back to society."
A scholarship is being established in Mr. Lin's name to assist other Chinese students at Concordia. Donations are also being funnelled into a fund to help his family, who praised in their statement the "many kind-hearted people [who] have reached out to extend their compassionate support."