SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The family of a Sacramento woman who died thousands of miles away from home says her remains are being held hostage at the Korean hospital where she was being treated.
Andrea Godina died on Saturday in Seoul, South Korea, where she was working as an English teacher.
Leticia Sisneros is slowly coming to terms with her sister’s death.
“She is gone, and I don’t think it’s even a reality, because we’re used to her being afar,” she said.
She says Godina was being treated with a lung infection that turned into pneumonia.
“Then she got the flu, and we were no longer able to speak to her,” Sisneros said. “She had a loss of oxygen, and then her organs started failing, and she just couldn’t come out of it.”
As the family tries to cope, it’s not the only challenge they’re facing. They say the hospital in South Korea is now refusing to release the 32-year-old’s remains without full payment.
“Her medical bills are $13,900,” Sisneros said. “That absolutely has to be paid before they allow her to be cremated. We don’t have funds like that just lying around.”
Her family is currently trying to raise money to bring Godina home for a proper burial. Today, they put on a benefit car wash to help bring her home.
They won’t stop until she’s back home with them.
“That’s what made me so angry, to know that she was there all by herself,” Sisneros said. “I know she was afraid.
Because she tested positive for the flu, her family says she’ll need to be cremated before she comes back to the United States.