Families of at least two other women still awaiting justice

Posted on Feb 21 2012

Even as the trail appears to be going cold in the killing of bartender Emerita “Emie” Romero, families of at least two other women who were murdered on Saipan in the mid-’90s are still waiting for justice.

With Romero’s murder in the news not only in the CNMI but also in the Philippines, Saipan Tribune learned that families of the slain Virginia Dejito Coria have been inquiring with the Philippine Consulate General for any updates in the investigation into her case.

Coria, a cashier of the former K-Store in Gualo Rai, was found dead in her small bedroom on the night of Oct. 15, 1996. Her throat was reportedly slashed. The autopsy showed she had wounds in both hands, indicating she put up a struggle against the assailant.

Coria, a 42-year-old Filipino, was apparently sleeping when the suspect entered her room through the back door of the store. The back door leads to several houses, barracks, and a bushy area.

Sources said that Department of Public Safety’s detectives had already identified the killer since 1996 but no one had been charged.

Sources said that the suspect was caught and convicted in a separate case and is now detained at a prison facility in the U.S. mainland.

In 1998 the Office of the Attorney General stated that they were still waiting for the results of the examination of physical evidence forwarded to a crime laboratory in the U.S. mainland.

A retired police official recently told Saipan Tribune that DPS or the OAG should act now with the evidence so that charges are finally filed as the killer is set to be released either this year or by next year.

Sources said that once the suspect is released, he will pose a danger to the community, especially to women as he had several convictions, including the attempted rape of a Chinese woman.

The other unsolved murder occurred in August 1995 when the body of 17-year-old Elpidia Koch was found in Cow Town in Marpi.

Similar to Romero’s case, DPS refused to release more details about Koch’s injuries.

Sources recently disclosed that Koch’s hands were actually tied when her body was recovered.

Sources said police had the suspect but it was not clear why the investigation did not end with the filing of charges.

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