Corbett children say farewell with flowers at tragic dad's removal
Hundreds of mourners have turned out for the removal of slain Irish man Jason Corbett whose children were at the centre of a bitter custody battle in the US for nearly three weeks.
Mr Corbett (39) was found dead at his home in Wallburg, North Carolina, on August 2 last. Police believe he was beaten about the head with a baseball bat.
Mr Corbett's wife Molly Martens and her father Thomas Martens, an ex FBI officer, are persons of interest in the investigation into the Limerick man's death, however neither have been officially named as suspects.
Following a traumatic custody battle in North Carolina, Mr Corbett's children Jack (10) and Sarah (8) returned to Ireland on Saturday with their aunt Treacy Lynch and her husband David.
The children's stepmother, Ms Martens, who fought for their custody, had lodged an appeal against the court's decision.
Mags Fitzpatrick, the children's mother, died in 2006 from an asthma attack.
A large crowd began gathering at 5pm yesterday evening outside Cross's Funeral Home where Mr Corbett's remains were reposed to Our Lady Queen of Peace, Janesboro.
The father-of-two was laid out in a closed solid mahogany casket. A plaque containing Mr Corbett's photograph was laid on top of the coffin surrounded by floral tributes, including one decorated in white roses, on behalf of his children, which simply read: "Daddy". Mr Corbett is to be laid to rest today, beside his "soulmate" Mags.
A piper will play and two white birds will be released into the air at Castlemungret Cemetery following midday requiem mass.
"It's to signify that Jason and Mags are finally together, as they always wanted to be," John Corbett, a brother of the deceased, said.
Ms Fitzpatrick's sister, Catherine, added: "We just want to lay him to rest with her. It's what he wanted," she said.
Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins who attended the removal, said he had payed a small role in helping the family after they appealed to "official Ireland" to support them during their custody battle.
After meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, the family and child agency Tusla provided the US family courts with documentation in support of Treacy and David Lynch.
"I got in my car and went up to (Dublin) to meet Charlie Flanagan last Saturday week in relation to it, to impress upon him the importance of it because the family were frustrated," Mr Collins said.
Cllr James Collins, who was a friend of Ms Fitzpatrick's said: "Mags was in business beside me in 'Daydreams Creche' and my kids attended, so I'm here today to pay my respect to the Corbett family and their extended family, and of course their children."
Local TD Willie O'Dea called on people to continue to provide financial assistance to the Corbett family who face ongoing legal and travel bills.