‘Strangulation marks’ basis for murder raps
From “persons of interest” to murder suspects.
Criminal charges have been filed against the four people who were with Edgel Joy Durolfo on the day the 26-year-old hotel officer died after they reportedly had a drug-fueled get-together at a hotel room in Parañaque City.
READ: Murder raps filed vs hotel exec’s lover, 3 others
A murder complaint was lodged on Friday morning in the city prosecutor’s office against Rodney Ynchausti, 27, of Las Piñas City; Molo Hwang and Paul Egoc, 26, both of Parañaque; and Josiebell Uy, 30, of Imus, Cavite.
The complaint mainly cited the autopsy results released by the Southern Police District (SPD) Crime Laboratory showing that Durolfo died of “asphyxia by manual strangulation.”
The Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration have been asked to place the four suspects on their watch list, Parañaque police chief Senior Supt. Ariel Andrade said in a press conference.
Chief Insp. Arnold Dugas, investigation unit chief of the Parañaque police, said the SPD Crime Lab’s findings suggested that “superiority of strength” was used against the woman, an element that should be present for a death to be considered a murder, not homicide.
The autopsy results were also consistent with the death certificate issued by San Juan de Dios Hospital where the suspects brought an unconscious Durolfo in the wee hours of Feb. 26.
The SPD Crime Lab chief, Supt. Bonnie Chua, said the autopsy also revealed that Durolfo suffered “contusions and hematomas,’’ injuries possibly caused by either a “blunt instrument” or an object with sharp edges.
One element is enough
In the same briefing, Insp. Nestor Bacuyag, a lawyer, mentioned two other elements of murder: evident premeditation and treachery. But he said the presence of just one element—referring to that cited by Dugas—would be enough to classify a death as murder.
Asked if the autopsy also noted signs of sexual assault, Chua said “we can’t give you the pertinent findings yet. When we say sexual assault, we need to determine what really are the findings of the genital exam… We are still in the process (of doing that).”
Supt. Jenny Tecson, SPD public information officer, said they were still awaiting the results of a toxicology exam that would determine whether Durolfo really took the drug ecstasy prior to her death.
Dugas acknowledged that investigators had yet to determine what exactly happened inside the hotel room of Solaire Resort and Casino, where Durolfo and the four suspects met for a get-together on the night of Feb. 25. Durolfo was an assistant manager at the hotel and was Ynchausti’s live-in partner.
The official said the statements given by the suspects as to what supposedly happened in the room leading to Durolfo’s death could not be given weight since these were taken by Solaire security personnel and “not subscribed and sworn to” before the police.
But the autopsy results and the fact that Ynchausti, Hwang, Egoc and Uy were the last persons seen with Durolfo based on security camera footage were enough to make them suspects, Dugas said.
SPO3 Reynaldo Arrojado, one of the investigators on the case, said the four were seen carrying Durolfo outside the hotel room, with a towel covering her face.
According to Andrade, the motive for the killing had yet to be established, but that “jealousy” was a possibility. He did not elaborate.
The charge sheet filed on Friday also contained a timeline based on the security videos obtained by the police:
Around 2 a.m. of Feb. 26, Ynchausti was seen going out of the hotel room and carrying Durolfo. They then got into the elevator, where he made her sit on the floor and rest her back on the wall.
With the elevator doors still open, Egoc, Hwang joined them, followed by Uy moments later.
But after several minutes, the group stepped out of the elevator which remained on the same floor, carrying Durolfo.
At 3:30 a.m., Uy and Hwang were seen coming out of the room and taking the elevator.
At 4 a.m., Ynchausti and Egoc came out of the room, again carrying Durolfo. They were later seen emerging from the elevator on the second floor and were met by Renato Borromeo of the hotel security office.
Anabelle Fajardo, a medic, then approached the group with a spineboard and assisted them in taking Durolfo to the hotel clinic.
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