Antoinette Traboulsi died from an internal hemorrhage in her brain and had multiple fractures on her face, said her cousin Sami Soussa.
The cousin of the Montreal woman killed in Cuba said “it seems she was hit with an object.”
The 52-year-old woman who lived in the Cartierville district of Montreal was found buried in a metre of sand on the beach in the Cuban resort town of Varadero. The body was discovered by Cuban authorities on Tuesday afternoon.
Soussa received the details of her death on Thursday from Global Affairs, the federal department that manages international diplomatic and consular affairs. He said Global Affairs had no information to give him about the police investigation in Cuba.
Sousa said he might go to Cuba with one of Traboulsi’s daughters to try to retrieve the body.
“I can’t believe I haven’t got a single call from the authorities there,” Soussa said. “To me, I don’t understand how that can happen.”
He said no one in the family has heard from Cuban authorities.
“I’m extremely frustrated,” Soussa said.
He said it has been very tough for the family.
“We’re devastated,” Soussa said. “It’s not like she passed away naturally. It was a crime. She was murdered. So it’s very hard for us to accept the news.”
A spokesperson from Global Affairs said via email that the department is still investigating the case: “Consular officials are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information. Due to the provisions under the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed.”
The agency does not recommend Canadians go to Cuba during the pandemic, noting that “Canada continues to advise against all non-essential travel outside Canada.”
Soussa said his cousin had never expressed any concerns about her safety in the Caribbean country.
“For her, going there at least twice a year, she felt really safe, and she is a very responsible woman so she wouldn’t jeopardize her safety,” Soussa said.
“We want to know what happened. I’m at a loss for words how something like this could happen,” Soussa said.
Traboulsi worked in the maintenance department of Sacré-Coeur Hospital.
Shocked colleagues posted their condolences on social media, as did the union representing workers at the hospital, offering psychological help to colleagues.
Traboulsi is survived by three daughters and a son.
Soussa described her as an energetic woman who loved music, dancing and taking photos for her social media accounts, on which she identified herself by the nickname “Angie.”
“We called her the dynamite of the family. She’s full of energy, she loved her life, she loved her kids,” Soussa said.
“Whenever we had family gatherings, she’s always dancing, putting on music and encouraging people to dance. She was full of life.”
She had fallen in love with Cuba, a country she visited many times.
Traboulsi arrived in Cuba on Friday, Nov. 13, and didn’t show up for a scheduled meeting with a friend Saturday evening. Soussa said his cousin rented a room at Casa Gladys in Varadero and said he didn’t believe it was her first time staying there.
A day after arrival, she went to the beach, uploading videos and photos to social media.
“Saturday morning, she spoke to her mother by Facebook messenger and posted a video to her social media on the beach around 11:20 a.m.,” Soussa said.
It would be the last time the family had contact with her.
The evening of Nov. 14, she was supposed to join a Cuban friend with whom she regularly met, but Traboulsi never showed. Soussa said his cousin’s friend alerted authorities.
Police waited 48 hours in the hope Traboulsi would turn up and called the friend back on Tuesday to see if she had heard from Traboulsi. Authorities searched Traboulsi’s rented room, where they found her personal effects.