The Office of the Attorney General has revealed that Joseph A. Crisostomo, who is facing charges in the kidnapping and murder of bartender Emerita Romero, is also a suspect in the killing of a woman at Laulau Beach in 2006.
Assistant attorney general James B. McAllister disclosed details in court documents on how Bao Ying Chen, also known as Abao, was kidnapped and killed in a pattern similar to that of Romero: the use of a rented car and via asphyxiation.
Citing multiple sources, Saipan Tribune ran a story on Feb. 26, 2013, about Crisostomo being linked by authorities to Chen’s murder.
McAllister filed in Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon a notice of intent to introduce evidence at trial of Crisostomo’s other “crimes, wrongs, or acts.”
Attorney Janet King, counsel for Crisostomo, told Saipan Tribune that they have until Friday, Aug. 30, to file an opposition to the government’s motion.
In the two-page notice, McAllister said that, on Nov. 23, 2006, in the early morning hours after smoking crystal methamphetamine or “ice,” Crisostomo used a Toyota sedan rented from Islander Rent-A-Car to kidnap, rob, and murder Chen via asphyxiation.
The prosecutor said that Abao’s body was found lying face down in an uninhabited area.
McAllister said that prior to the incident, Crisostomo left his acquaintance at a nearby poker arcade for several hours.
“After the crime, defendant was seen in possession of Abao’s cell phone and other personal items inside the rental vehicle,” he said.
McAllister disclosed that Crisostomo cleaned the interior of the vehicle and had his acquaintance return the car to Islander Rent-A-Car.
The prosecutor added that Crisostomo lied to police about the incident.
Two fishermen found the lifeless body of a woman along the shoreline of Laulau Beach in the afternoon of Nov. 23, 2006.
Two weeks later, police identified the woman through her fingerprint record as 41-year-old Chen, wife of real estate broker Samuel Rayburn.
An autopsy determined that Chen died of asphyxiation by drowning.
In Romero’s case, Dr. Aurelio Espinola ruled that his autopsy showed that Romero died as a result of asphyxia due to strangulation.
Police detectives seized a Toyota Corolla from Islander Rent-A-Car, which was rented out on Feb. 3, 2012, and was returned on Feb. 5, 2012.
Investigators learned that it was the same car that Romero later boarded, believing it was a taxicab, near her house in Garapan in the early morning of Feb. 5, 2012.
On Feb. 7, 2012, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents found the lifeless body of Romero at the abandoned La Fiesta Mall in San Roque/As Matuis.
A little over a year later, police arrested Crisostomo for allegedly killing Romero. His jury trial will be on Oct. 15, 2013.