NEW: A father accuses Putin, rebel and Ukrainian leaders of murdering his daughter
Dutch foreign minister: Human remains have become part of "a political game"
U.S. ambassador: Families are crying out for closure
A grieving mother appeals to Russia's Putin for help returning bodies to the Netherlands
First came the devastating news that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 had crashed. Then, the horrifying accusation that someone shot it out of the sky.
And now this – the fear that their loved ones’ remains might never make it home.
“We want to know where my brother…is right now, and we still don’t,” Paul de Kuijer told CNN on Monday.
Authorities have said a train carrying the bodies of hundreds of victims is on its way to Kharkiv, Ukraine. But de Kuijer said he hasn’t gotten any word about whether his brother Pim is on it.
“We don’t know whether they recovered his body, whether it’s on the train, whether it will be coming to the Netherlands soon,” he said. “These are the big questions that we have right now.”
The 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines 17 when it crashed on Thursday left behind hundreds of family members across the globe.
Some say their voices are getting lost in an international political scuffle as world leaders face off over what happened to the downed jet.
“The passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 had nothing to do with the conflict in eastern Ukraine. They were families heading on vacation, students returning home from abroad, researchers trying to eradicate a deadly disease,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said Monday. “Those who were killed deserve to be treated with dignity and their families are crying out, as we have heard, for closure.”
As presidents, prime ministers and ambassadors pointed fingers over who was responsible for the crash, father Hans de Borst spoke out in a Facebook post.
He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Ukrainian government and separatists of murdering his 17-year-old daughter, who was nearing the end of high school and planning to study engineering.
“She was looking forward to it!” de Borst wrote. “But suddenly she is not here anymore! She has been shot out of the sky, in an unknown country, where there is a war going on! Aforementioned misters, I hope you’re proud to have shot her. … And that you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror tomorrow morning.”
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said bringing the remains of the 193 Dutch citizens who died in the crash home was his country’s top priority. He decried what he called disturbing reports of how bodies had been treated at the scene of the crash.
“Just imagine that you first get the news that your husband was killed. and then within two or three days, you see images of some thug removing a wedding band from their hands. Just imagine that this could be your spouse,” he said. “To my dying day, I will not understand that it took so much time for the rescue workers to be allowed to do their difficult jobs, and that human remains should be used in a political game.”
Even as reports that thieves have been picking over bodies at the scene draw sharp condemnation from international officials, Silene Fredriksz said she wasn’t worried about material things.
Until the remains of her son and his girlfriend are returned, Fredriksz said she’s paralyzed.
“I can do nothing but wait for the bodies,” she told CNN. “They can have everything, but the bodies have to come back. Take their iPhones, take their money, take everything.”
In Malaysia, a group of families of victims meeting with government officials had just one request, state media reported.
“That the bodies be brought back in whatever condition,” Malaysian government minister Datuk Seri Rohani said.
In Britain, Hugo Hoare told The Mirror that he was worried about whether rebels were taking care of the bodies of his 59-year-old brother Andrew and the other crash victims.
“I just hope whatever they are doing is humane and their intention is just to release them at the appropriate time. The first thing I thought was, what if they are going to use them as a bargaining chip?” Hoare said. “We just have to follow normal pressure through diplomatic channels and just hope there is a decent resolution at the end of it.”
Standing at Amsterdam’s Schipohl Airport, just meters away from the place where her son and his girlfriend checked in for their flight last week, Fredriksz asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help.
“Mr. Putin,” she said, “please take care of my son and my daughter, to bring them home.”
Her son, Bryce, 23, and his girlfriend Daisy Oehlers were on their way to Bali when the plane was downed in war-torn eastern Ukraine.
Fredriksz had bought the “beautiful young couple” their tickets for a holiday after the death of Oehlers’ mother 2½ months ago.
“I paid their tickets to give them four weeks holiday to find their happiness again,” she said.
Supported by family members, Fredriksz, sometimes in tears, described searching through grisly photos on social media in an effort to find her son.
“I saw pictures on Facebook of bodies. Complete bodies. I had to look at it because maybe my son was on the picture,” she said.
Fredriksz couldn’t find him. But that hasn’t dampened her resolve.
She knows she wants to bring Bryce and Daisy together again.
“Here. They have to be buried together,” she said from Amsterdam. “They died together. They loved each other. They have to be together forever.”
CNN’s Susannah Cullinane and Jim Sciutto contributed to this report.