DPS bats for autopsy on body found in CK


The body that was found in an advanced stage of decomposition deep in a vacant lot in Chalan Kanoa is currently awaiting an autopsy to determine whether foul play was involved in the man’s death or if he died of natural causes.

According to Department of Public Safety spokesperson Adrian Pangelinan, DPS has yet to determine as of yesterday whether Damian Wenio, the man whose body was found decomposing in the jungles of the vacant lot next to Triple J Truckload Store, was killed or if it was a natural death.

Pangelinan said that DPS has already recommended to the Office of the Attorney General that the OAG arrange for an autopsy to be performed on the body.

“Due to the state the body was found in, we are unable to say what was the cause of death, although at this time we are strongly recommending an autopsy through the AG’s Office as we continue an investigation,” he said

Saipan Tribune also reached out to OAG Criminal Division Chief Prosecutor Chester Hinds, who confirmed that DPS has recommended an autopsy. As of press time, Hinds could not officially confirm that an autopsy would be done, but he said the OAG is considering moving forward with one.

“Yes, we are considering an autopsy. But the AG makes the final decision on whether an autopsy is done,” he said.

As for who will be conducting the autopsy, Hinds said that Dr. Philip Dauterman at the Commonwealth Health Center would most likely perform the autopsy.

The decomposed body was found in the jungle of the vacant lot next to Triple J Truckload Store and across the Mount Carmel Cathedral in Chalan Kanoa at around 2:20pm last Friday. 

At the time, DPS and family members chose to withhold the name of the deceased, but Pangelinan has confirmed his identity as that of Wenio, 38. Family members who have reported him missing several weeks ago identified him as the 38-year-old Chuukese man they had been looking for. The man is believed to have been dead for at least two weeks prior to the discovery of his body.

Although the body was reportedly found at around 2:20pm, when Saipan Tribune got on scene at around 3:30pm, the investigators had yet to proceed with their investigation as they were still awaiting a briefing on how to proceed.

In an interview with assistant chief of police Capt. Simon Manacop at the scene, he said Wenio’s body was found in an advanced stage of decomposition and was reported missing on Thursday. Manacop said it was actually the family of the deceased who called the police to inform them as they had been searching for Wenio for several weeks now prior to reporting him missing.

The man’s brothers told Saipan Tribune they found Wenio’s body in the jungle at around 2pm before reporting it to police. According to DPS, the man was only officially reported missing the day before his body was found.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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