Investigators have begun piecing together clues gathered from the recently recovered car of slain advertising manager Kristelle “Kae” Davantes, hoping the perpetrators were careless enough to leave marks on the vehicle that could at least narrow down the area where police could look for suspects.
Davantes’ Toyota Altis, which was found abandoned inside Camella Homes Subdivision in Barangay (village) Pamplona 3, Las Piñas City, around midnight Saturday, yielded fingerprints, police said on Monday.
The very spot where the car was found—the dead end of a street at the corner of the subdivision—may also be an indication that whoever drove it there was very familiar with the village, according to Southern Police District director Chief Supt. Jose Erwin Villacorte.
“If you weren’t familiar with the area, it would be difficult to get there. The roads are roundabout,” Villacorte said.
The head of Task Force Kae Davantes, Chief Supt. Christopher Laxa of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), also noted that the car was already without license plates and upholstered seats when found.
A car without seats would be difficult to take on a long drive, Laxa said. From the moment the seats were removed, “the car couldn’t have come from a place that is very far. We are now concentrating around the area,” he said.
Several pieces of clothing were also found in the car. The clothes, conclusively not Davantes’, included infant and children’s wear, ladies’ shorts and undergarments, and an “El Shaddai” handkerchief, which sported burn marks.
The car reeked of diesel and bore signs of an attempt to burn it from inside. The dashboard, for example, had been damaged apparently by a small fire. Investigators surmised that the clothes, which were also soaked in diesel, were left there to serve as kindling.
“They may have simply been pulled from clotheslines or from a second-hand clothes store,” Laxa said.
Last week, when Davantes’ body was found in Silang, Cavite province, police said the handkerchief used to gag the victim was not hers.
On Monday’s Task Force meeting, investigators said they were able to buy a similar handkerchief—of the Shann Kervin brand—from a leading department store.
The police have also started looking into the security video taken at the gates of Camella Homes, as well as on the regular routes taken by the victim going home to her Moonwalk Village residence, such as Alabang-Zapote Road and Marcos Alvarez Avenue.
As to the possible motive for the killing, Laxa said the car theft angle had been “sidelined” or set aside with the discovery of Davantes’ car.
Also on Monday, Las Piñas City Mayor Vergel Aguilar raised from P200,000 to P500,000 the reward money being offered by authorities for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.