Prime suspect in hotel manager’s murder insists on innocence
MANILA — In his first-ever appearance at the Parañaque Prosecutor’s Office on Monday, the prime suspect in the death of Solaire hotel officer Edgel Joy Durolfo maintained his innocence, saying he loved Durolfo, his fiance, very much and he was planning to marry her in 2017.
He also stood by his story that her death was an accident caused by the Ecstasy pill they took on the night of a get-together with friends.
Rodney Ynchausti, along with two other suspects Josiebell Uy and Molo Hwang, appeared and submitted his counteraffidavit on Monday during the preliminary investigation of the murder case filed against him and the other respondents for the death of Durolfo. The fourth suspect, Paul Egoc, earlier filed his counteraffidavit at the prosecutor’s office.
“All four of us did not commit a crime. It was an accident,” Ynchausti said.
Durolfo was pronounced dead in the hospital on Feb. 26, hours after she and the suspects had a drug-fueled get-together inside a Solaire hotel room. All four suspects were charged with murder based on autopsy results showing that the 26-year-old victim sustained contusions and hematoma and died of “asphyxia by manual strangulation.”
“Until now, I am still grieving because of Joy’s death. Her family knows how much I love her,” an emotional Ynchausti said. The suspect was also careful in giving out answers to the media and at times asked his lawyer if he should speak.
Asked if he had any message to Durolfo’s family, Ynchausti said he was sorry for what happened but noted that he and the other suspects did not kill the victim. “We were also shocked with her death,” he added and said that he decided to finally show up during the preliminary investigation because the Prosecutor’s Office invited him to file a counter-affidavit.
In his 13-page affidavit, Ynchausti said he did not murder his fiance and he did not have any motive to do so. They did not have a fight or a misunderstanding prior to her death, according to Ynchausti. “I love Joy and we were in good terms the day of the incident and days prior. I do not even remember any major fight in our relationship,” he explained.
The 27-year-old Ynchausti revealed that he and Durolfo were “seriously talking about marriage.” “I proposed to her in December last year and she accepted it,” he said, adding they were planning to have a 2017 wedding in Tagaytay.
He said Durolfo’s death was an accident caused by the ecstasy pill they took the night they had a get-together in Solaire. He said doctors termed her case as Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC). Ynchausti also included in his counter-affidavit that Durolfo was the one who asked for the ecstasy pills from Egoc, a day before their scheduled meet-up.
The suspect said that it would be impossible for Durolfo to die because of manual strangulation since nobody hurt her that night. Ynchausti said he consulted doctors about Durolfo’s cause of death and was told that a person could die from manual strangulation eight minutes, at most.
“Joy did not die in Solaire. She died at around 2 p.m. when she was already in San Juan de Dios Hospital,” he added.
Angelo Niño Santos, the lawyer of Durolfo’s mother, Evangel, said they already expected the denial of Ynchausti and the three other accused.
“Even if they deny it, the evidence says otherwise. The death certificate of Edgel Joy showed that she died of “asphyxia by manual strangulation,” which equated to murder because there were four other people inside the room,” Santos said.
Asked about what she felt when she saw Ynchausti, Evangel said that she could not look him straight in the eye. The paths of Durolfo’s mother and Ynchausti crossed before they entered the Prosecutor’s Office but Evangel said they did not have any verbal exchange.
Members of the Durolfo family, who saw Ynchausti on Monday, observed that he lost weight and “looked stressed” compared to the previous times they saw him with Edgel Joy. (With a report from John Cyril Yee, trainee) SFM
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