Back of house searched for Luhk sisters

Authorities, using a backhoe, dig the back portion of a house in Koblerville last Saturday where they searched for the remains of the missing sisters Faloma and Maleina Luhk. Apparently no remains were found. The owner of the house is the late mother of convicted murderer Joseph A. Crisostomo. (Contributed Photo)

Police backed by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents served a search warrant last Saturday at a home along Tinaktak Drive in Koblerville, reviving the search for the sisters Faloma and Maleina Luhk, whose disappearance now enter its seventh year.

Department of Public Safety spokesperson Jacqueline Rae Shepard said yesterday she has not seen the full police report about the search.

Saipan Tribune learned from a source that it was a veteran police sergeant who obtained a search warrant from Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio last Saturday morning, but no remains were found at the Koblerville site.

Elbert Quitugua, grandfather of the Luhk sisters, said family members were saddened and the children’s mother was traumatized upon learning about this new search in online sources.

Quitugua said it is not fair to them as authorities did not notify them about the search nor gave them a heads up about the investigation.

Quitugua said he does not know the Crisostomo family, whose property in Koberville was searched.

Authorities used a backhoe, among other tools, to dig the back portion of the house belonging to “Ana and Calistro.”

Ana is the mother of Joseph A. Crisostomo, who was slapped with life imprisonment in May 2014 for the murder, rape, and kidnapping of bartender Emerita Romero. Ana passed away last year.

Calistro is Joseph Crisostomo’s brother, Saipan Tribune learned.

The subject of the search warrant was Ana and Calistro’s residential compound/ground vicinity behind the house. The house is described to be an unpainted semi-concrete structure along Tinaktak Drive.

“There is being concealed or buried within the ground human remains believed to be of the missing Luhk sisters, Faloma and Maleina,” the source said, quoting the police sergeant in the application for the search warrant.

In issuing the search warrant, authorities were commanded to seize and prepare a written inventory of the property seized pursuant to this warrant and provide the inventory on or before Aug. 17, 2018.

Janet H. King, the lawyer for Crisostomo in the murder case, told Saipan Tribune that Crisostomo has no connection to the unsolved disappearance of the Luhk sisters.

She described what happened to the Luhk sisters one of the most shocking and tragic crimes in the CNMI.

The Luhk sisters were reported missing on May 25, 2011, in As Teo.

King said Crisostomo was in the CNMI Department of Corrections at that time for a previous criminal conviction and was released after serving five years on Dec. 17, 2011.

The lawyer said that, according to the family, the police and FBI did not find any remains.

This coming May 25 marks the seventh year of the mysterious disappearance of the Luhk sisters near a public school bus pavilion in As Teo, with still no trace of the children.

The parents of the children have been separated. The mother moved to Virginia from Guam two years ago. The father was last reported to be in Pohnpei.

Then 10-year-old Faloma and 9-year-old Maleina Luhk were last seen on May 25, 2011, waiting for a school bus near a bus stop pavilion in As Teo.

The sisters’ disappearance resulted in the most extensive search of missing persons in CNMI historys. A tracking dog from Hawaii was even flown to the island to conduct searches.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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