HOUSTON -- A soldier from the Houston area survived two wars and found love only to be shot and killed outside his home.
Now his family is trying to get answers, while his body sits more than 3,000 miles away in Lima, Peru.
Christopher Caver was a Houstonian and soldier, serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was bold in battle and in love.
After meeting a girl online and never having met her in person, Chris moved to Peru to be with her.
“He just went,” said Linda Lakey, Caver’s mother. “He's very brave.”
That was two years ago. A photo of him at the airport shows the last time his family saw him.
“That silly goofy picture of him going up the escalator making a heart telling us he loved us,” said Laura Caver McCray, Christopher’s sister.
Christopher and his girlfriend Galya seemed to thrive. Then last week, on September 1, robbers shot and killed Caver just outside his apartment. It was a surprisingly violent crime in Lima.
“Headline after headline, his face, his journey,” McCray said.
Outside the headlines, there was more drama. The Cavers said they were told Christopher also had a heart attack, and needed blood transfusions and surgery, and the medical bills began to climb. It turned out though, a friend had seen the body in the hospital.
“He removed the sheet and there were no wounds other than the bullet holes,” McCray said. “We were told if they didn't get their money they would dispose of the body.”
Thanks to the U.S. Embassy those are no longer issues. The family was told the body won't be released for 45 - 60 days “because it is a homicide.”
"But it’s crooked and they know it, cause they've already done the autopsy,” McCray said. “This is how they do Americans.”
They fear the Peruvian bureaucracy sees them as vulnerable foreigners, tainting thoughts of the place Christopher had come to love.
The Cavers have an online fundraising campaign to help with expenses. http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/please-help-bring-christopher-home/85755
Meantime, U.S. Embassy officials in Peru say they are offering all appropriate consular support to the family.