DNA test confirms husband killed Limes

No bail set for defendant
Ana Maria Limes

Ana Maria Limes

Sylvestre Rogopes Sablan was arrested yesterday over the killing of his wife, Ana Maria Limes, at their residence in Oleai in April 2015.

Sablan, 44, was served with an arrest warrant on charges of second degree murder, aggravated assault and battery, and assault with a dangerous weapon.

At a hearing yesterday, Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio maintained “no bail” for Sablan.

Sablan has been in detention for illegal possession of controlled substance. He was tagged before as person of interest in the killing of Limes.

Limes, 52, a former staff assistant of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), was found dead inside her house in Oleai/San Jose on April 20, 2015 at noon. Autopsy showed that she died of a skull fracture due to blunt force trauma.

Police Detective Simon T. Manacop stated in his report that on Feb. 5, 2016, Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Haejun Park provided him with a report from the FBI laboratory examination.

Manacop said the FBI examination showed that a chemical test for the presence of blood was positive on the physical evidence—the short pants procured from Sablan.

Manacop said the results concluded that “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty” Limes was identified as a contributor of DNA obtained from the short pants.

The detective said the FBI examination report also confirmed that female DNA was present on a sledgehammer and pieces of wooden paddle.

Manacop said examination done on sledgehammer and pieces of wooden paddle confirm “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty,” Limes is the source of DNA obtained from both items.

The detective said physical evidence procured from the crime scene such as the sledge hammer, pieces of wooden paddle, a stick from a wooden paddle, along with the clothing procured from Sablan, were sent to the FBI Laboratory Division in Quantico, Virginia for analytical examination.

Manacop said that, on April 20, 2015 at 12:12pm, Sablan’s brother, Joaquin, called the Department of Public Safety’s emergency line and requested the police to check on Sablan’s residence located in Oleai/San Jose.

Joaquin reported that his nephew mentioned about finding Limes inside her house lying down in a pool of blood.

A police officer responded to the house and confirmed Limes’ death due to homicide.

On the same day, Manacop said he arrived at the scene at 12:50pm. A single-story concrete dwelling with tin roofing.

Manacop said upon entry of the residence from the front door he immediately observed a sledgehammer that rested upon a couch located in the left side of the entrance.

The sledgehammer contained hair fiber and possible blood on the iron portion.

From the entrance, the victim was observed lying face down on a single-size futon.

Manacop said the victim’s upper portion was naked and appeared to be only clothed with black pants with white prints which was pulled just above the waist.

Manacop said as he conducted further investigation of the victim he observed a large hole (skull fracture) on the back of her head.

He said signs of decomposition existed as the body emitted foul odor.

The detective said the interior of the house appeared to be scattered which indicated that a possible struggle between the victim and her assailant had taken place.

He said broken pieces of wood were also seen scattered on the floor.

Manacop said the pieces of wood originated from paddleboard that was found on top of a couch, within the general area where the sledgehammer was also located.

On the same day, Guam chief medical examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola conducted an autopsy on the victim.

Manacop said during external examination, Espinola indicated that the victim suffered pre-mortem contusions on the forehead and both sides of the face.

Espinola also noted contusions on the left arm, left forearm, and the back of the left hand. He observed skull fracture on the back of head.

Upon completion of the autopsy, Espinola ruled that that the victim died as a result of skull fracture due to blunt trauma and classified the case as a homicide.

Espinola also estimated the death happened on April 18 or two days prior to the homicide being reported.

On April 19, 2015 at 12:36am, a disturbance was reported at the residence of Daniel Lisua located within the village of San Jose.

Lisua’s residence is relatively close to the house of Limes.

Manacop said a police officer entertained the disturbance, where Sablan was arrested for illegal possession of controlled substance—methamphetamine or “ice.”

At the time of the arrest, Manacop said, the officer observed Sablan was wearing a camouflage long sleeve and short pants.

The officer noted that Sablan had a scratch on his belly and stains that appeared to be blood on his pants.

On the same day at 1pm, Sablan was released from the Department of Corrections as investigation was further conducted.

Manacop said during an interview by a detective on April 21, 2015, Juan Nekaifes disclosed that on April 19, 2015 at 1pm, he and his wife arrived at Kilili Beach to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

Nekaifes said they saw Sablan walking on the beach so they called him and offered him something to eat.

Sablan was wearing only short pants and holding his camouflage jacket.

Sablan then allegedly began telling them that he had killed his wife and that he did it “last night.”

Sablan apparently claimed that he was asleep when he felt a kick on his back.

Sablan alleged that he saw Limes and hit her on the head.

Manacop said Nekaifes further mentioned that Sablan also expressed he was surprised that the police released him after what he has done and that it was only about drugs that he was arrested for.

Sablan also allegedly pointed at bloodstains on his jacket and pants claiming to be from Limes.

Manacop said that on April 20, 2015 at 3:57pm, Sablan was escorted to DPS Criminal Investigation Office, where he (Manacop) inquired about the victim’s death.

Manacop said Sablan had denied having any knowledge about the victim’s death and later refused to give any statement without having a lawyer present.

He said Sablan, however, gave consent for two detectives to procure clothing he wore the night he was arrested.

The clothing, a long sleeve camouflage jacket and a local motion brand short pants, were procured.

Manacop said the clothing was later positively identified by a police officer as the clothing that was worn by Sablan the evening he was arrested.

On April 30, 2015, Kim-Tenorio suspended the scheduled preliminary hearing in the “ice” case until the mental evaluation of Sablan is completed.

Kim-Tenorio postponed the preliminary hearing after Sablan acted strangely in court. In the courtroom, he was mumbling and talking to himself. He said something about candles, grave, and other things.

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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