14 February 2011

Justice for Ellah Joy

Justice for Ellah Joy
Ellah Joy Pique, a Grade 1 pupil of Calajoan Elementary School, was found dead at the foot of a cliff in Barili on 9 February 2011, the day after she was kidnapped. Her naked body was wrapped in a bed sheet tied to a rock. A seven-inch wound was found in the head, indicating impact from a hard object.

She was last seen with a Filipino woman who picked her up from school purportedly on the request of the girl's mother. The two boarded a Mitsubishi Pajero driven by a male Caucasian.

Police arrested Karen Castro Esdrelon, 25, a native of Tuburan town, and Swen Erik Berger, 47, from Oslo, Norway, after at least two children identified them as the one who picked up Ellah Joy on 8 February 2011.

The two suspects were about to board a plane, but they were stopped by the police at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in Lapu-Lapu City past 8:30 P.M. after their features matched the artist sketches of the Filipina and the foreigner who kidnapped Pique.

The airport police then informed the CPPO officials who then brought a pimp and a 10-year-old friend of Pique to the MCIA to identify the suspects.

The pimp confirmed that he had supplied young girls to the Norwegian.

The girl, on the other hand, identified the Filipina and the foreigner as the ones who picked up Pique while they were heading home from school last week.

The police then brought the couple to the CPPO headquarters where classmates and friends of Pigue came to identify the two suspects.

The police then detained them pending filing of the charges.

But Berger and Esdrelon told a news conference that they had nothing to do with the crime.

Esdrelon said Berger arrived in Cebu at 6:40 P.M. on 7 February 2011 to meet her and her family. The two met through the Internet dating website DateInAsia.com on 19 August 2010.

It was Berger's second visit to the Philippines. The first was on 27 October 2010.

They spent the night on Days Hotel in Lapu-Lapu City. The next day, they went to Metro Gaisano on Colon Street to meet Esdrelon’s aunt as well as to buy an engagement ring and a bracelet.

They then proceeded to a bank in downtown Cebu City to open an account.

About 2:30 P.M., they went back to Gaisano Metro to meet Esdrelon's cousin to get her Professional Regulatory Commission license.

Esdrelon is a licensed nurse.

They then went to Cebu-based Norwegian School, Sigvathsen, because Esdrelon wanted to study the Norwegian language.

Since it was about 4:30 P.M., they had a late lunch at the Family Choice Restaurant on Gorordo Avenue before going to Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino where they checked in at about 5:00 P.M.