$10,500 reward offered vs killer of Bulakenya bartender in Saipan
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2012 12:00AM BY ANDREW O. DE GUZMAN & EMMANUEL T. EREDIANO - VARIETY NEWS STAFF
A TOTAL of $10,500 will be given to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons behind the death of Godfather’s bartender Emerita “Emie” Relata Romero.
Concerned citizen Patricia Garshak has offered $500, while Bridge Capital LLC and Pacific Amusement Inc. will each provide a reward of $5,000.
Bridge Capital LLC, through its chief executive officer and managing member John K. Baldwin “expressed its deepest condolences to the family and friends” of Romero, 37, a mother of two.
“We call on other CNMI businesses and community leaders to join us in prompting witnesses to share any relevant information they have,” Bridge Capital said in a statement.
“This heinous crime must not go unpunished,” according to a statement from Pacific Amusement’s Jim Gebhard.
Some community members, for their part, want to know how the Department of Public Safety responded to the victim’s 911 call prior to her disappearance on Feb. 5, 2012.
Variety also learned that search warrants were being obtained following the completion of Romero’s autopsy yesterday.
Her body was discovered by the FBI inside the former La Fiesta Mall in San Roque at about 2:44 p.m., or almost 36 hours after she was reported missing.
The Department of Public Safety and Crime Stoppers are calling on members of the community with any information about this case to call 911, 664-9001 or 234-7272.
A source close to the family of Romero is also asking for the community’s cooperation, and is urging the public not to spread “speculations” and rumors about the case.
“Please support the FBI and DPS in their investigation by sharing any relevant information,” the source said.
DPS had yet to update the public about its investigation.
Variety learned that the FBI and DPS had concluded the processing of the crime scene. Police officers were seen yesterday afternoon near the corner of Chichirica Ave. and Kadena Di Amor St. in Garapan where Romero was last seen.
A poker arcade in the area provided video footage which recorded a passing sedan around the same time that Romero disappeared early Sunday morning.
Eduardo Relata, the victim’s brother, told Variety that their mother had been informed of what had happened to his sister.
“Our family, parents are now starting to cope with this tragedy,” Relata said, as he thanked members of the community, the FBI and DPS for investigating the case.
Relata is hoping the remains of his sister will soon be released to their custody and sent to their hometown in Plaridel, Bulacan province, north of Manila.
Romero’s co-workers at Godfather’s and friends offered Mass at Kristo Rai Church last night.
Romero was last seen getting into a green or blue sedan which traveled east by Garapan Market at about 3 a.m. Sunday.
Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos yesterday called on the members of the community to be vigilant as the police investigation continues.
Fitial, in a statement, assured Romero’s family that the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are actively investigating all leads.
Fitial said he and Inos “are calling on the community to be vigilant and more alert in everything that happens around them.”
“Our hearts go out to the family of Emie Romero. I want to assure them and the public that DPS and other response resources are actively investigating all leads in this latest tragedy,” Fitial said.
“This is a very alarming development for us as a close-knit island community. We must all be vigilant neighbors to one another. There is no room for such heinous criminal acts in our islands,” the governor added.
According to Inos, “This is very disheartening news for any family or community to bear. As the investigation continues, I also would like to call on our community to come together to continue making our islands safer for everyone --- be it children, adults, tourists ... we must care for each other and our belongings,” he said, adding that he and the governor urge anyone with helpful information to immediately contact the authorities.
Rep. Stanley T. Torres, Ind.-Saipan, said he and his wife, Arlene, are very saddened by the news.
Torres said he and Arlene have known Romero for 10 years. They first met her at the now defunct Plumeria Hotel where she used to work.
When Plumeria shut down about five years ago, Torres said he thought Romero went back to the Philippines. But he and his wife were glad to see her working at Godfather’s.
“She was always very nice. We feel so sorry for this loss,” Torres said.
Mrs. Torres said when they heard last Monday that Romero was missing, they immediately attended Mass and prayed that she would be found safe and right away .
She said she was disappointed that Romero managed to call 911 but still ended up dead.