After making a name for himself by cycling through more than 50 countries on a quest to make the world a better place, a U.S. man may be cremated in Russia after being killed in a drunken hit-and-run last month.
A spokesperson from the regional administration of Ivanov, where Ron McGerity was killed, said his relatives had initially planned to travel to Russia to collect the body but later sent a letter asking that he be cremated and his ashes sent to the U.S., Interfax reported Tuesday.
One of McGerity's relatives contacted The Moscow Times to dispute that claim, however, as well as earlier reports of no one coming forward to claim the body. McGerity's close relative said that the family had been in constant contact with the U.S. Embassy over his burial. The family had been told that the process to reclaim the body would take weeks due to the criminal investigation over his death, she said.
“We are hoping to solidify the plans for Ron's remains through the contacts at the Embassy. We were informed that this process would take weeks due to the criminal investigation. We wait for news with heavy hearts,” she said.
Earlier, RIA Novosti reported that McGerity might be buried in a Russian cemetary if no one came forward to claim his body.
McGerity, 61, was killed in a hit-and-run collision with a drunk driver on July 24 while riding his bike along a federal highway from Kostroma to Ivanovo in central Russia. The driver was later apprehended and determined to have been drunk behind the wheel, ITAR Tass reported. The case against him is ongoing.
The globetrotting cyclist, who had already toured four continents, had arrived in Russia with plans to cycle the popular Golden Ring, a route festooned with ancient towns around Moscow.
He had been staging such expeditions since 1995 in order to raise money for various charities.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow declined to comment on the matter out of concern and respect for McGerity's family.