MANILA, Philippines -- The mayor of Caloocan City is offering P200,000 to anyone who can give information that would lead to the arrest of the gunman behind the killing of seven-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella.
Stephanie Nicole was hit by a stray bullet in the head while she and her family were watching fireworks outside their house in Caloocan on New Year's Eve.
She passed away at 2:26 p.m. Wednesday. Doctors at the East Avenue Medical Center said she suffered cardiac arrests and had slipped into a coma while inside the hospital.
Mayor Enrico Echiverri offered the bounty against Stephanie Nicole's shooter on top of his promise that he will shoulder the funeral expenses for the victim.
The Department of Health, meanwhile, agreed to shoulder Stephanie Nicole's hospital expenses.
An autopsy on her remains was conducted by members of the PNP-Crime Laboratory at around 11 p.m. Wednesday.
Her remains will be brought to the Ella residence Thursday afternoon.
The PNP-Crime Laboratory said on Thursday that the bullet that hit the head of Stephanie Nicole was traced to a .45-caliber pistol.
In an earlier interview with radio dzMM on Thursday morning, Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, spokesperson of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said he is confident that police investigators will be able to trace the owner of the gun, even as the country is notorious for having numerous loose and unlicensed firearms.
"I believe hindi po imposible. Though magiging matagal ang proseso, what we have on our database and the slug recovered from the body of the victim. Ang magaling pong imbestigador, ang mahaba pong pasensya at determinadong pulis, will find a resolution to the case. I'm a positive thinker and I know very well that we have very good investigators in Metro Manila," he said. -- With reports from Johnson Manabat, dzMM; and Gus Abelgas, ABS-CBN News