Sister of Limerick man killed in US fights to bring children home
Jason Corbett was found dead at his home in North Carolina last week
Jason Corbett(39) was found dead at his home in North Carolina last Sunday morning.
Police found the father of two, who is originally from Janesboro in Limerick city, unconscious and unresponsive with head injuries following an alleged assault at his home at Panther Creek Court in Wallburg, North Carolina.
Police have confirmed they are not looking for anybody outside the family home as part of the ongoing investigation which has been referred to the District Attorney’s Office. No arrests have been made.
Jason Corbett moved to North Carolina four years ago with his two children from his first marriage, Jack (8) and Sarah (10).
The children’s mother Mags Corbett died in 2006 following an asthma attack.
Mr Corbett had been living in North Carolina with his new wife, an American woman, who previously worked as the children’s child minder.
After the death of his first wife in 2006, Mr Corbett appointed his sister Tracey Lynch as legal guardian to his children, should anything ever happen to him.
Ms Lynch has not been able to see her niece and nephew since she arrived in North Carolina almost a week ago.
She now faces a legal battle in America to have her guardianship recognised.
The children are currently in the custody of their stepmother.
In a statement issued through a family friend, Ms Lynch, a well known community activist in Limerick and CEO of Tait House in Southill said:
“We will be staying in America until we can bring my brother and his children home.
“These children are Irish citizens, they hold Irish passports and all the family wants is to be able bring them home together with their father.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs has offered consular assistance to the family.
A fundraising campaign called Jason’s Journey has also been established in Limerick to help the Corbett family deal with the travel and legal costs involved in trying to bring the children home.
Family friend Mary Fitzpatrick, whose son Michael was murdered in 1999, initiated the fundraising appeal.
“My thoughts around what they were physically going through and the pain and suffering brought me to think about the expense which they must be now burdened with travelling to America,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.
“Three of them flew out to America last Monday and they had to take three different flights to get to North Carolina; that’s nine flights in total.”
“I kept waiting to hear if somebody was going to do something to support them because it does cost a lot of money and Limerick is very good for coming out and supporting families in crisis. I think I know from the similar experience that I had that Limerick is very good to help their own.”
Ms Fitzpatrick, lost her 19-year-old son Michael after he was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack outside a pub in Southill in Limerick in June 1999.
“I can relate to the pain of a mother and father and sister and brother receiving the news that somebody has died so tragically and so traumatically. It’s horrendous. I just couldn’t describe the pain that you are plunged into and then all of a sudden you are introduced to the legal side of it.”