A Filipino-Australian who owned a spa in Ermita, Manila, was found dead early Friday inside the establishment after it was ransacked.
Harry John McKenzie, 63, had a towel stuffed in his mouth, his head bashed and his feet bound, when found by vendor Jennelyn Escopete inside the Yin Yang Balanced Massage Spa at the corner of Pedro Gil and Adriatico Streets around 9 a.m., police said.
In an interview, Escopete said McKenzie was kind enough to allot a space at the massage parlour where she and other vendors in the area could leave their goods overnight for safekeeping. She discovered the body when she came to get her wares that morning.
"He was very nice to vendors like us," Escopete told the Inquirer, referring to the slain businessman who resided in Las Piñas City but often spent the night at the spa.
Escopete said she usually had to knock to wake McKenzie up, but that morning the gate and the glass door were already open when she arrived, while the furniture and drapes were in disarray. Alarmed, she let herself in and found the victim lying on the floor inside one of the rooms.
Senior Insp. Robert Bunayog, chief of the Manila Police District's Pedro Gil precinct, said the employees reported the loss of their boss' mobile phone and cash box containing an undetermined sum of money.
McKenzie being a man of heft about 6 feet tall, Bunayog said it was possible that it took more than one person to subdue and kill the victim.
The officer noted that, according to the employees, McKenzie for the past few days had been hiring three men to repaint the walls and that they were expected to resume work Friday.
"We are now considering them as suspects since they did not show up (this morning)," Bunayog said, noting that one of the three workers was reportedly a former detainee of the Quezon City Jail.