The mother of a 24-year-old American woman who died on a cruise ship in Darwin Harbour says the investigation was botched, amid criticism about how Northern Territory police are handling sudden deaths.
The parents of American singer Jackie Kastrinelis will exhume her body, after the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner advised them that more tests should be conducted to find out how their daughter died.
Ms Kastrinelis was found dead in her room on the Seven Seas Voyager cruise ship in February 2013 in mysterious circumstances.
She was employed as the lead singer and had been happily socialising on the ship until 1.40am on the morning of her death.
Police and the coroner were unable to conclude exactly what had happened, with an official finding of “sudden unexplained death syndrome” had caused.
Parents Kathy and Mike Kastrinelis refused to accept their finding and believe their daughter met with foul play, possibly involving “jealous parties”.
NT Territory coroner Greg Cavanagh declined their appeal for an open inquest last November, saying there is no new evidence of violence, sexual activity or a date rape drug that could be used to pursue their suspicions.
However Mr Cavanagh said it was a “matter of regret” that tissue and blood samples of their daughter that her parents asked police for were not sent until February 2015.
Ms Kastrinelis accused NT police of “destroying all the significant forensic evidence” and not taking enough evidence to identify male DNA found on her daughters’ underpants.
“From speaking with experts in the field over here in the United States … once the toxicology comes back with no finding and the autopsy shows no finding you don’t stop, you go back and expand the toxicology and retest in case you miss something,” she told ABC radio.
“We are not confident of the cause of death that they closed the investigation with.”
She believes the police dismissed their daughter’s death as that of a 24-year-old drinking too much and doing something stupid but she insists Jackie was not a “party girl”.
Marty Aust from the Criminal Legal Association of the NT said people had “every right to wonder whether investigations were being done to the standard” expected of the police force.
The police were criticised by the coroner this week who found Palmerston man Matthew Rosewarne might have been murdered after police ruled a shot to the back of his head was suicide.
Earlier this year Mr Cavanagh similarly described an investigation into the 2013 fatal stabbing of Aboriginal woman Sasha Green in Tennant Creek as incompetent.
© AAP 2018