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Father Returns To Claim Bodies

May 29, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Carlos Urgiles was weary and red-eyed after arriving from Ecuador to claim the bodies of his estranged wife and four children killed by a train in Connecticut.

``I want to bring the bodies to my country. I don’t want problems with my family,″ Urgiles said Friday at Kennedy International Airport, speaking through an interpreter.

Three days earlier, Julia Toledo, 47, and her four young boys were hit by an Amtrak train while crossing the tracks in Fairfield, Conn.

Urgiles said he left his family behind in the United States more than a year ago after fighting over religious differences with his sister-in-law. The families shared an apartment in Bridgeport, Conn.

Urgiles is Catholic and his sister-in-law is Mormon. His wife, who filed for divorce after her husband returned to Ecuador, attended both churches.

``I did not abandon my family,″ he said, adding that he also returned to Ecuador because he could not find a job and his mother was terminally ill.

The Mormon Church in Trumbull, Conn., made arrangements to hold a funeral service Monday and bury the family in nearby Easton. Funeral director Edgar Rodriguez of Funeraria Luz de Paz in Bridgeport said he was unaware of the father’s plans and said he expected no change in the Connecticut services.

Authorities still don’t know why the family was walking along the train tracks before dawn on Tuesday. Asked what he thought might have led to his wife’s accident, Urgiles said simply: ``I don’t want to talk about it because it is too late. I’m destroyed.″

The 52-year-old farm worker lives in the mountain village of Cojitambo, 160 miles southwest of Quito, Ecuador. He was found in the village by local reporters after a long search of the area.

In Ecuador, a poor South American nation of 12 million inhabitants, the family’s plight has been front page news, with people lamenting that Ecuadoreans are forced by their country’s poverty to go abroad to find work.

The state airline Ecuatoriana offered to fly Urgiles to the United States and bring the bodies back to Ecuador.

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