As long as it takes ...
It has been eight years since my son, a degreed and certified English teacher, was murdered in Guangzhou, China on April 14, 2005. He had been teaching in an illegal English-language school there and had left his job just days before his death over an ongoing work permit-visa dispute with his employer.
He was immediately forced out of the school-owned apartment and placed in a hotel, where he was robbed and his passport taken. After he had been robbed, he contacted the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou. I contacted the consulate as well as the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
We feel that they could have done a better job of providing assistance in an emergency situation that would have a fatal end. We also feel information is being withheld from us, which is why we've sued in federal court under the Freedom of Information Act to have records released.
His death, which occurred within days of contacting the consulate, was officially reported as a pedestrian-truck accident. Because of his rocky relationship with the owner of the illegal school, I did not believe the official version of events then and I do not believe it now.
In May of 2005, an official in the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou told me, "Be glad you got your son's body back and move on."
Eight years later, I am still unable to "move on" in any way because I don't have all of the facts.
Until I get them, I will continue to press for answers. And regardless of the outcome of our pending Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, I will continue to work to effect positive changes so nothing like this ever happens to anyone else or their family.
Maxine B. Russell
December 10, 2013
The most recent hearing for the release of records was on December 9, 2013.
The next hearing is scheduled for March 14, 2014.
Russell v. United States Department of State et. al.
(Case No. CV09-06050 PSG)