x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Murdered UAE businesswoman to be laid to rest in the Philippines

The family of Lorna Lim Varona has completed the paperwork required to repatriate her remains to the Philippines.

Lorna Lim Varona and her family. Mrs Varona's body was found on Friday stuffed in a bag in her car.
Lorna Lim Varona and her family. Mrs Varona's body was found on Friday stuffed in a bag in her car.

Lorna Lim Varona will soon finally be laid to rest in her home country after she was brutally murdered nearly a month ago.

“We hope to take her body home by Wednesday or Thursday next week,” said Pablo Varona, 65, who went to Sharjah Public Prosecution to process the paperwork required to repatriate his wife’s remains.

“The wake may take four to five days before she will be laid to rest.”

The Filipino businesswoman, 51, was found murdered on August 31, nearly a week after she was reported missing from the family home in Mirdif, in Dubai.

She had been stabbed at least six times, and her body stuffed into a bag in the boot of her car, a green Jaguar S-Type, in Sharjah’s Industrial Area 2.

Mr Varona received a police report and a four-page forensics report that had to be translated from Arabic to English. The department of preventive medicine in Sharjah issued a death certificate.

“I’m quite relieved that we got all the papers now,” he said. “My family and I will be accompanying her body to Manila.”

A Filipino in his 50s, described as a close friend of the family, was arrested in Dubai the day after Mrs Varona’s body was found and police said he confessed to the killing.

The family was able to see the woman’s body for the first time on September 15, nearly two weeks after learning about the murder from Sharjah police.

They are required to present the autopsy report, death certificate and passport to the Philippines consulate in Dubai, which will then issue a no-objection certificate for the embalming of her remains, said Mohammed Pukunum, a consulate staff member.

Mr Varona said they could not retrieve his wife’s passport so they would need to apply for a travel document at the consulate.

The repatriation process also involves an airline cargo booking, transferring the body from the morgue to an embalming facility at Sonapur, and taking it to the airport for the trip to the Philippines.

Mr Varona’s daughters Maria Lourdes, 29, and Maria Liza, 24, are in Dubai to support their father and help to run their mother’s four business interests.

Sons Joseph Luke, 27, and Joseph Louis, 26, are in Manila to finalise funeral arrangements.

“The case will continue and we know it will take time,” Mr Varona said. “But we believe in the justice system of the UAE. We’ll get justice for Lorna.”

rruiz@thenational.ae