Still no suspects in Davantes’ slay

But police say clues point to 2 or more ‘amateur’ perpetrators

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MANILA, Philippines – A week after the body of advertising manager Kristelle “Kae” Davantes was found in Cavite province, the police have yet to identify any suspects.

Investigators, however, said that the crime was probably carried out by two or more perpetrators who were amateurs and unfamiliar with the area where they dumped the victim, Metro Manila police deputy director for operations Chief Supt. Christopher Laxa said yesterday.

Laxa is the head of Task Force Kae Davantes which is composed of the National Capital Region Police Office, Cavite provincial police, Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Highway Patrol Group and policemen from Taguig and Las Piñas cities. It was formed on Tuesday upon the order of no less than President Aquino.

Around 6 a.m. on Sept. 7, Davantes was found dead under a bridge in Silang, Cavite, her mouth gagged with a handkerchief and her hands bound with car seatbelt straps.

An autopsy report released by the Cavite police confirmed that she died of suffocation and multiple stab wounds in the neck. Police believed she was strangled with a piece of cable and stabbed with a kitchen knife. Both were found beside her body.

Davantes was last seen alive on Friday by her friends after a night out. They saw her to her car and she was alone when she drove out of the Bonifacio Global City east parking lot at 1 a.m. on Saturday, on her way home to Moonwalk Village, Las Piñas, based on footage taken by surveillance cameras.

Her car, a metallic beige Toyota Altis with plate number PIM 966, her iPhone and Blackberry and other valuables have yet to be found.

When Davantes’ body was discovered, all she had were the clothes she was wearing and her engagement ring, Laxa said. She and her boyfriend were supposed to get married in May 2014.

At the crime scene, one thing that stood out was the handkerchief used to gag her. It was not believed to be hers as her uncle, Vince Davantes, earlier told the Inquirer that his niece did not usually carry a handkerchief.

The white with blue stripes handkerchief bore the Shann Kervin brand, Task Force Kae spokesperson Senior Supt. Edgardo Wycoco said. It has been submitted for DNA testing.

“We are checking if [this brand] can ordinarily be bought on the sidewalk; if it is a branded item, expensive or counterfeit,” Laxa added.

As for Davantes’ car, the police are still looking for it as well as her cell phones. “We are trying to track the phones down. The CIDG is in touch with Globe about her phone records. We have a technical group handling it. We don’t want to preempt the investigation and end up tipping off the suspects,” Laxa said.

Asked if the crime was a simple robbery or car theft case, Laxa said: “All angles are being combed.”

He added that investigators believed there were two or more perpetrators. “The manner in which she was killed, it’s impossible there was only one. But they seem like amateurs. If they were members of an organized syndicate or professionals, they would not be that clumsy. They wouldn’t leave behind the knife,” Laxa said.

He also said that based on the task force’s analysis, Davantes abductors didn’t seem familiar with the area where they dumped her body, the Tibagan Bridge at Barangay Sabutan in Silang.

According to him, there was another bridge ahead where it would have been easier to conceal the victim because the structure was higher and the drop more steep.

Wycoco urged anyone with any information about the case to call the task force hotlines 0919-5375799 and 0916-4381170.

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