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Cops hunt Ifugao woodcarver for Julia Campbell's murder

April 22, 2007 10:31pm

Tags: Ifugao
Police intensified Sunday a Luzon-wide manhunt for a 25-year-old woodcarver from Ifugao who was tagged as the killer of US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell.

Campbell’s decomposing body was retrieved on April 18 by Army soldiers in a shallow grave, her feet protruding from the ground, 10 days after she went missing during a solo hike in Batad to see the Banaue Rice terraces. A bloodstained piece of wood believed used in killing her was found near the grave.

Sources at the Cordillera Administrative Region Police Office identified the suspect in the killing of Campbell as Juan Dontugan, 25, 5’7" in height, fair-complexioned, medium-built, and described as “strong"of body because he is a woodcarver.

Aside from his residence in Batad, Dontugan reportedly also has a house at his “Lola Bugyaw" at Kilometer 6, Barangay Cruz in La Trinidad.

He had been identified earlier by Senior Supt. Pedro Ganir, Ifugao PNP provincial director, as the husband of a woman who sold Campbell a pop drink before she went hiking in the remote area in Batad.

The woman has claimed her husband was not in Batad at the time of Campbell’s disappearance, but the Ifugao police still searched her place for possible retrieval of evidence. Police refused to divulge what they found.

“The suspect (Dontugan) is well-known among furniture businessmen in Ifugao and Baguio City as his job is woodcarving," police sources said.

Police have yet to file the appropriate criminal charges against the suspect as they reportedly are still conducting the manhunt on him and gathering more pieces of evidence to tie him to Campbell’s death.

Initial police autopsy report on Campbell indicated that she was repeatedly hit in the head with a blunt object by someone standing in front of her, sustaining plenty of injuries to her face and the top of her head.

PNP crime laboratory pathologists, assisted by four US pathologists who came from Japan, said there were signs of strangulation and that they were not ruling out that Campbell was sexually assaulted.

A team of 15 forensic experts conducted the autopsy on Campbell for seven hours at the Loyola Memorial Chapels in Makati City where her body was brought and frozen hours after her remains were retrieved.

A statement from Campbell’s family posted on the US Peace Corps website indicated they are planning for a memorial service for her in Fairfax County in Virginia, USA where her family lives. - GMANews.TV
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Tags: Ifugao