Murdered Ukrainian tourist Ivan Ivanov pictured with his wife Tina and one of their three children. Picture: Supplied.
Cape Town - The body of Ivan Ivanov, the Ukrainian hiker who was murdered in Hout Bay on July 27, is due to be returned to his family on Friday.

Ivanov will be received in Switzerland by his wife, Tina, who said she was looking forward to seeing her beloved husband again. 

The family had to wait for the forensic investigation to finish before Ivanov’s body could be released and they have yet to even see a photograph of his body.

The family plans to cremate Ivanov in Switzerland and keep his ashes in both Ukraine, at his mother’s home, and Latvia, with Tina and the children.

Due to complicated Ukrainian repatriation laws, Ivanov’s body was unable to be returned directly to Ukraine, even though he held a passport from the country. 

International repatriation can be a lengthy and expensive process. Bodies must be prepared for travel, embalmed and put in a zinc-lined casket. Every country has individual requirements for repatriation and there is a hefty amount of paperwork required to complete the task.

According to Tina, Ivanov hoped to have his ashes spread at Cape Point. Ivanov referred to the place as “the cross of two oceans”, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans are said to meet, and even visited the site the day before his passing. 

Ivanov had travelled to South Africa three times before his murder and deeply appreciated the country’s natural beauty. Tina plans to make the trip to South Africa once their three children are old enough.

Ivanov’s memorial service and “final goodbye” will take place this Saturday through the Russian Orthodox Church. This will be the last opportunity for those close to the Ukrainian to bid him a final farewell.

Community members in Hout Bay held their own memorial service on Sunday. Tina and her family are accepting donations for the funeral costs and future care of the family via her Paypal at [email protected] account.

@m_wench

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Cape Argus