Family plan burial in Philippines for Jastine

Members of the Filipino community have said the family of Jastine Valdez are planning to have her returned to her native country for burial.

Jastine Valdez

Last night, a vigil was held for the murdered 24-year-old in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, where she lived and to where she was returning last Saturday when she was abducted and then killed by Bray-based father-of-two Mark Hennessy.

By teatime yesterday, a fundraising campaign had already raised more than €70,000 in public donations, with Elza De la Cruz, president of the Ilocano-Irish Association, stating she believed Jastine would ultimately be repatriated.

My officers went last night [Monday] to the home and they were able to talk to the parents,” she said, “and they are preparing to take her back to the Philippines and we are raising funds.

Ms Valdez, originally from Aritao in the Philippines, had been in Ireland for three years, following the same path as her parents — father Danillo and mother Teresita, both now Irish citizens.

The crowd funding page was set up by Raymond Garrett, a former director of operations at the Philippine consulate in Dublin on behalf of Outreach Ireland.

He said: “It is a natural thing in the Philippines to give money to grieving families.”

Donations to the gofundme.com Jastine Valdez Memorial Fund had been flooding in since being created in the aftermath of her shocking death. Ahead of last night’s vigil, Ms De La Cruz said the sense of shock among the Filipino community was palpable.

For everybody, it is really desperate,” she said.

Outreach Ireland is made up of volunteers who have been helping to run the Philippine embassy outreach missions in Ireland since March 2016 and other Philippine- related events by contributing their time, skills and resources as needed on a temporary basis.

In a post relating to the setting up of the crowdfunding page, Mr Garrett said: “This page was set up to facilitate all of those who wish to offer support and sympathy to the family of Jastine Valdez following her devastating death.

“Any and all funds raised on this page will go directly to the parents of Jastine Valdez to help them in the weeks and months ahead.

“This fundraising page was set up on behalf of the Filipino community via a Filipino community group Outreach Ireland.

“It was done in an effort to allow those that wish to help to do so, also there is a Filipino tradition of giving money to grieving families called Abuloy, and many would like to follow this tradition without directly disturbing the grieving family.

“The solicitor (overseeing the fundraising) is from Bourke Law of Fitzwilliam St. We have made indirect contact with the family and all money raised will be paid directly to the family, directly into their back account.”

Mr Garrett said that the fundraising will be carried out in a fully transparent manner.

He added: “Jastine Valdez was an only child taken from her parents at the age of 24 in the most unimaginable circumstance.

“Born in the Philippines, she came to Ireland to study and to join her parents who are now naturalised Irish citizens. Both parents work and are active in the community.

“The Valdez family… are facing a situation that no person on this earth should have to face. They are parents saying goodbye to their child.

“The circumstances on how they lost their daughter are public knowledge. ”

Numerous messages of support from those making donations have already been offered to the young woman’s family.

One contributor posted: “My deepest condolences, no words can express how sorry I am this has happened. As a person born, raised and living in Enniskerry I feel so sad that this has happened in a place that should be a wonderful safe place to live your life. I am heartbroken for you. RIP to your beautiful daughter.”

Another posted:“We are so sorry for the tragic loss of your beautiful daughter and wish you strength to cope in the days, months and years ahead. You will be in our thoughts.”

Eyewitnesses reported seeing Ms Valdez being bundled into a dark Nissan Qashqai on the R760 Kilcroney Road near her home in Enniskerry at 6.15pm on Saturday.

Gardaí had been searching for Mark Hennessy, 40, in connection with the abduction but he was shot dead by gardaí in south Dublin business park on Sunday night.

Hennessy, a married father-of-two, was from Woodbrook Estate, Boghall Road in Bray, Co Wicklow.

It emerged the murder suspect left a note covered in blood in his car in which he told gardaí he had dumped the Filipino woman’s remains in the Puck’s Castle Lane area of Rathmichael in south Dublin.


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