Disappearance of Luhk sisters marks 5th year

Grandfather says DPS not providing updates, not visiting him

Yesterday marked the fifth year of the mysterious disappearance of Faloma and Maleina Luhk near a public school bus pavilion in As Teo, with still no trace of the children and no update in the investigation.

The family of the Luhk sisters offered a Mass and rosary at Santa Soledad Church in Kagman at 6pm yesterday.

Elbert Quitugua, grandfather of the Luhk sisters, told Saipan Tribune that they are still so sad that there’s not even any update from local authorities about what’s going on or if they are still pursuing the case or not.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero in an interview said DPS is closely working in coordination with federal law enforcement agencies in the Luhk sisters’ case.

“This is an open, active case and we will continue to pursue it as we get leads,” Guerrero said.

The DPS commissioner said members of DPS Criminal Investigation Bureau have been working closely with their federal counterparts.

Guerrero said it’s a difficult case, but both local and federal agencies are taking an interest in solving the case.

Quitugua said the last time they heard from the Federal Bureau of Investigation was last year when they stated they were still pursuing the case.

“But there’s no update from the FBI as of today,” Quitugua said.

Quitugua lamented that it’s almost like his granddaughters’ case has been forgotten by the CNMI government.

“I hope they don’t forget that in their pursuit to find where they are, not just them, my two granddaughters, but also the others—the missing Japanese sisters, the Chinese farmers,” he said.

Quitugua said it’s sad and scary that there is/are a criminal/s out there walking among the people in the community.

Quitugua urged CNMI leaders and members in the community to be more vigilant by coming forward if they hear anything out from ordinary conversation or know something about the sisters’ disappearance.

“It’s not easy to live for five years and not knowing what happened to your granddaughters,” he said.

Quitugua said DPS investigators never give him updates in the investigation for years now.

“They never visit me. They never contact me,” he said.

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

The sisters’ disappearance resulted in the most extensive search of missing persons in CNMI history, with FBI agents and DPS officers combing a landfill, caves, jungles, villages, abandoned buildings, and other areas on Saipan for several months.

Hundreds of civilians also volunteered their time to join the searches. A tracking dog from Hawaii was even flown to the island to conduct searches.

In October 2014, the FBI released computer-generated age progression images of how the sisters would possibly look then, three years after their disappearance.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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