After a night out with friends, Kristelle “Kae” Davantes, 25, drove alone out of a parking lot in Bonifacio Global City (BGC).
This was at 1 a.m. on Saturday. Hours later, at 6 a.m., a resident found her body below the 20-foot-high Tibagan bridge in Barangay (village) Sabutan in Silang, Cavite province.
She had been strangled.
Now, investigators in Taguig City and Cavite are trying to piece together what happened during those five hours.
Police have made no arrests and, as of Monday afternoon, no one had been questioned.
Davantes was a senior account manager for the Manila branch of the MRM digital marketing agency under McCann Worldgroup Philippines. McCann holds office at Active Fun Building along 9th Avenue in BGC.
That was where Davantes checked out at exactly 9:36 p.m. after work on Friday, Taguig police’s deputy chief for operations, Supt. Celso Rodriguez, told the Inquirer.
She spent the next hours with friends and work mates in restaurants and bars at BGC, Rodriguez said. The night ended with three of Davantes’ friends seeing her off at the BGC East parking lot.
Driving a metallic beige Toyota Altis with Plate No. PIM 966, Davantes left the parking lot at exactly 1:07 a.m., according to police.
A sister told police that Davantes texted her, saying she was on her way to their home in Barangay Moonwalk, Las Piñas.
That was the last time any of her loved ones spoke with her.
At around 10 a.m. on Saturday, Davantes’ family and friends started looking for her at the BGC Police Community Precinct, Rodriguez said.
A desk officer told the Inquirer that the group asked the police to accompany them to the parking lot where Davantes was last seen.
Since she had been missing for less than 24 hours, the relatives deferred filing a missing person report. “They said they would look for her among her friends first,” Rodriguez said.
When her body was found under the bridge by the riverside in Silang, Davantes’ mouth was gagged with a handkerchief and her hands were tied with a car’s seatbelt, according to SPO1 Eric Ambojia of the Silang police station.
Investigators believed she was strangled with a piece of electric wire found on the scene.
She also bore a stab wound on her neck, police said. Her cell phone and other possessions were not recovered.
Rodriguez said there was no sign Davantes had been molested, her clothes being “intact.” Autopsy results, in fact, showed no signs of sexual assault.
More than one suspect
Rodriguez also said that the Cavite police had found an old, 6-inch kitchen knife near Davantes body, and that the handkerchief she was gagged with—white with blue stripes—was “branded.”
“Her family said it is not hers,” Rodriguez said.
“We believe she was abducted and killed elsewhere before the body was dumped (in Cavite). We are also looking at more than one suspect,” Ambojia said in a phone interview.
No security cameras
The Taguig police chief, Senior Supt. Arthur Asis, surmised Davantes’ abduction may not have happened at BGC.
“According to the guards at the parking lot, there was no commotion, nothing unusual when she drove out,” Asis said. There are no security cameras in the BGC open parking lots.
Rodriguez said the Taguig police were now reviewing security camera footage on at least four points along BGC roads where Davantes might have passed on her way home.
Theorizing that Davantes might have taken the C5 Road going to Las Piñas, Rodriguez said: “We really can’t tell at what point she was abducted or how it happened.”
Where’s the car?
Rodriguez also said the police were still looking for Davantes’ car, which remained missing. He said a search around BGC had yielded negative results. The car is registered to a Mercedes Ilano, according to police.
Rodriguez said the case was in the hands of the Cavite police: “We’ll help them with whatever information we can provide,” he said.
But something puzzles Rodriguez: “If it was a carnapping case, there seemed to be anger in the way she was killed. She was alone, a female, they could simply just have taken the car.”
The McCann Worldgroup Philippines, in a statement, expressed shock and sadness over the crime. Davantes had been working with the company since September 2011.
“We are one with the Davantes family in this time of grief and we will continue to offer them our full support,” the statement said. “We respect their request for privacy in this time of bereavement, as we await the complete and accurate details from the ongoing investigation.”
Family and friends have turned to social media, calling on authorities to find her killer.
Justice for Kae
On Monday, Davantes’ friends created Justice for Kae, a community page on Facebook, and asked netizens to share it with their own network of contacts.
“Families and friends, let’s all unite. We will not stop until we find justice … To our Kae, we love you so much,” the Facebook page read.
Davantes’ body was released to her family on Sunday, police said.