Body returns to Mexico from Greece

MEXICO CITY (AP) – The body of a California man finally arrived in his hometown in western Mexico on Wednesday, after a mixed-up odyssey in which his casket was flown to Greece, while relatives here found themselves holding a wake over the body of a stranger. The body of Roberto Castaneda, 68, of East Palo Alto, California, finally arrived in his hometown of Apatzingan, Michoacan, 190 miles (300 km) west of Mexico City, the government news agency Notimex reported. His body arrived by airplane at an airport in the nearby city of Guadalajara, and was taken by highway to Apatzingan, where family members hoped to bury Castaneda in the cemetery of the Presa del Rosario neighborhood later the same day. Castaneda’s last wish was to be buried in his hometown, said his sister-in-law, Consuelo Zepeda. Relatives opened the casket they believed was Castaneda’s. Instead, weeping relatives found the body of a black man with a cigar and a book with a picture of the World Trade Center on the cover. «I opened the casket, and then I shut it again quickly,» Zepeda said. «I said to my sister, ‘That’s not Roberto.’» Relatives told Notimex they had been told that the unidentified black man was Ethiopian, and that his body was to have been sent to Greece. Delta Air Lines, which was responsible for the shipment of the bodies, has opened an investigation into the mix-up. Luis Quinones, Castaneda’s son-in-law, flew on the same flight with the casket to Mexico. He said the original coffin was silver, but the one that arrived in Mexico was gold and brown. «We deeply regret any distress this caused the family,» Delta spokesman Reid Davis told The Associated Press on Monday. The family had raised about $8,000 in donations in one week from neighbors to pay for the travel costs and burial expenses. Croatia’s wartime army chief of staff, Gen. Janko Bobetko, has been indicted by the UN war crimes court, Prime Minister Ivica Racan said yesterday. Racan told Parliament that the court in The Hague, Netherlands, had requested Croatian authorities to question Bobetko, 83, «in his capacity as an indictee.» The government was to receive the indictment later in the day and could not immediately detail the charges against Bobetko, who vowed earlier this week «never to surrender» to the court. Croatian media have speculated about the indictment against Bobetko for weeks, saying he has been accused of responsibility in the 1993 killing of dozens of Serbs in the central Croatian area known as the Medak Pocket. (AP)

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