Mafnas: No to release of autopsy results

Posted on Feb 13 2012
Candlelight vigil tonight to remember Romero, take stand vs violence
By Ferdie de la Torre

The Department of Public Safety will not release the results of the autopsy conducted on bartender Emerita Relata Romero, according to Police Commissioner Ramon Mafnas, to protect the police’s investigative process.

Romero was found dead at the former La Fiesta Mall in San Roque last Feb. 7, two days after she was reported missing.

In an email to the media over the weekend, Mafnas said that releasing the result of the autopsy “will simply forewarn, prepare, and arm the suspect or suspects with more information to destroy all evidence linking him or them to the victim.”

Guam chief medical examiner Aurelio A. Espinola did the autopsy last Tuesday night at the Commonwealth Health Center’s morgue to determine the cause of death.

As this developed, Estrellita “Lhet” Relata told Saipan Tribune yesterday that they don’t have a definite schedule yet as to when they will bring home the remains of their sister, Romero, to the Philippines.

Estrellita Relata and her brother, Eduardo Relata, are still waiting for the go-signal from authorities as to when they can finally bring home the remains for burial in Bulacan, the Philippines. The Relatas were planning to bring the remains to the Philippines early this week.

Romero’s family members are urging authorities to arrest the killer before the victim’s body is flown to the Philippines.

Mafnas said that DPS will not comment on ongoing investigations.

“The steps we are taking are necessary to protect the strength and integrity of the investigation process,” he said.

Mafnas said that revealing more information at this time is not prudent and will only erode the grounds and tactical advantages held by investigators, and as a consequence, shift the advantage over to the suspects.

“Our men and women are out on the streets interviewing, searching and gathering evidence on both cases day in and day out,” he said.

The commissioner said the need to protect the advantages and opportunities held by investigators to discover, identify, and preserve evidence as well as maintain tactical investigative advantages far outweigh the cry for details, information, and news, being demanded by the public.

Many people are expected to join tonight’s candlelight vigil, called “Take Back the Night,” to remember Romero and take a stand against violence on Saipan. The vigil is also a fundraiser for Romero’s two children.

The vigil, organized by Romero’s co-workers at Godfather’s Bar, will be held at the tourist district in Garapan at 8pm to 9:30pm. The converging area will be near Godfather’s Bar at 8pm. The Relatas and their relatives will be joining the vigil.

Romero was last seen alive on Feb. 5 at about 3am boarding a green or blue tinted car in the parking lot of Call-A-Ride Saipan in Garapan. FBI agents found her body at the abandoned La Fiesta Mall in San Roque on Feb. 7 in the afternoon.

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