US retiree, 4 others dead in Angeles massacre


Posted at Jul 22 2010 10:48 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2010 09:10 AM

ANGELES CITY, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - An American war veteran, his Filipino wife and three domestic helpers were found dead inside their residence by authorities early afternoon here on Thursday, police said.

Senior Supt. Danilo Bautista, acting director of the Angeles City Police Office (ACPO), identified the victims as Albert Mitchell, 70, a member of the Veteran of Foreign War (VFW) stationed in Barangay Lakandula; his wife Janet, 53; domestic helpers Isabel Fajardo, Marissa Prado, and Yulberto Vergara.

The victims were found by scene of the crime investigators in different places inside the house owned by the Mitchell, located along Manuela St., Hensonville Court, Barangay Malabanias.

Hensonville Court is an exclusive subdivision where foreigners, mostly retirees, reside. The place is a well-secured area, with sentinels posted for 24 hours.

Residents told reporters that it was the first big crime that happened inside the subdivision.

The victims, initial reports said, were shot at point-blank range by the suspects. All of them, including Mitchell's domestic helpers, bore gunshot wounds.

According to police, the suspects entered Mitchell's house at around noon on Thursday. When they exited the subdivision's gate, a guard stopped them to see if they were leaving with some stolen goods.

However, the suspects managed to escape. Police were conducting pursuit operations against the suspects.

Police suspect robbery may have been the motive behind the killings since the suspects left behind what appears to be goods taken from Mitchell's house.

A bag containing a DVD player and different cable cords were left behind by the suspects.

The security guards on duty at the time of the incident were also questioned by the police. The guard vowed to help and cooperate with the police in the investigation.

Jonner Alarcon Adraneda, older brother of Janet, said he talked to his sister at around 8: a.m. on Thursday.

He said her sister confided to him about a huge amount of cash she had lent to some of her friends. She also told him she was having difficulties collecting the money from the borrowers.

Andraneda, a native of Iloilo City who now stays in Sitio Bangkal, Barangay Malabanias, said he left his sister's residence and went on with his daily activities as a tricycle driver.

At around 3 p.m., Andraneda said a fellow tricycle driver told him that his sister was among those killed.

Crime laboratory personnel who processed the scene found several spent 9mm caliber pistol casings.

Chief Supt. Arturo Cacdac Jr., director of the Central Luzon Police, ordered the Angeles City Police Office (ACPO) and Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) to bring all the evidence gathered from the crime scene.

Cacdac said he has coordinated with the Composite Investigation Unit of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, Quezon City for the cartographic sketches of the suspects.

So far, Cacdac said the ACPO has three witnesses. "Hopefully, we can get some lead against the suspects."- report from Gracie Rutao, ABS-CBN Pampanga; Jess Malabanan