Family Struggles to Return Body of Amtrak Victim Home to Italy

Antonio Piras came to America this weekend to overcome heartbreaking obstacles that have delayed the burial of his brother, a victim of last week's deadly Amtrak derailment.

Piras is battling a bureaucratic nightmare that has stopped his family from bringing the body of Giuseppe Piras to his homeland of Italy, the family told NBC 4 New York on Sunday.

Giuseppe Piras was traveling to New York City last week to sell wine and olive oil on behalf of a cooperative in his native Sardinia. He was aboard Amtrak train 188 when it derailed in Philadelphia and his was one of the last of the eight bodies pulled from the wreckage.

An avid cyclist, Piras, 40, was identified after his worried family contacted the Italian consulate in Philadelphia and sent them his picture.

The family was initially told that Piras was alive and on a shuttle bus headed for New York. They were then told that an Amtrak representative made a mistake.

Once it was established that Piras was killed, his family asked that his body be kept in Philadelphia so that a family member from Italy could claim it. But days later, it was moved to a New Jersey funeral home without their consent.

The matter is further complicated in that the death certificate and other paperwork has to be shuttled between two states. The family has been told they may not be able to send Piras home until Friday.

Amtrak officials declined to comment on the situation.

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