New Zealand Authorities Start Releasing Bodies of Victims
Authorities in New Zealand are starting to release the bodies of those killed in Friday’s deadly Christchurch mosque shootings. In a statement Tuesday, police said six of the identified victims were returned to their families and another six were ready to be returned. The police department also said it is "acutely aware of frustrations by families associated with the length of the time required for the identification process." Families have been waiting to give their loved ones proper funerals.
Muslims traditionally try to cleanse and bury the dead as soon as possible, often within 24 hours. On Sunday, the police commissioner said the department was aware of the families' "cultural and religious needs." He promised at the time that authorities would try and return the remains by Wednesday. But it doesn't look like that deadline will be met, as coroners and police haven't confirmed the identities of all of the victims yet.
In Tuesday's statement, the New Zealand Police said that the identification process might seem straightforward, but it's actually fairly complex.
Police said: "Our absolute priority is to get this right and ensure that no mistakes are made." Fifty people died and dozens of others were injured following shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.
As of the late Tuesday local time, only one suspect had been charged in relation to the attacks. Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN .