Curiosity may have killed the cat, but on Sunday, it led to the discovery of the body of a 23-year-old woman from Indiana, USA, who, the police said, was allegedly killed by two other Americans, one of them her boyfriend.
The Manila Police District said that Tomi Michelle Masters' naked body was fished out of Pasig River near the Baseco Compound on Sunday morning.
Her boyfriend, Troy Woody Jr., 21, and their friend, Mir Islam, 22, were arrested shortly after at a condominium unit on J. Bacobo Street in Ermita.
"We have yet to establish the motive. The three were here on vacation," Ermita police station head, Supt. Igmedio Bernaldez, said in an interview.
Masters was believed to have been killed inside the condominium unit she was sharing with her boyfriend at Avida Towers on Edsa corner Mandaluyong City either on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
SEPARATE CONDO UNITS
Bernaldez said the couple had booked the unit online. Islam, on the other hand, was staying at the condominium in Ermita where he and Woody would later be arrested.
Bernaldez added that their initial investigation showed the three Americans were together when Masters was killed.
"If you ask the boyfriend, he would point to his friend as the killer. But if you ask the other suspect, he would say it was his friend who killed her," he said.
A medical examination conducted on the suspects, however, showed scratch marks all over Woody's body.
The victim's body was found inside a garbage bag that had been wrapped all over with duct tape. The bag was then placed inside a big balikbayan box.
At 1:53 a.m. on Sunday, the suspects booked a Grab ride from the Mandaluyong condominium unit to Robinson's Place mall in Ermita.
Grab driver John Kenneth Quimba told the police that when he picked up the two men, they loaded the balikbayan box into the trunk of his car.
When they reached the mall at 2:40 a.m., the suspects asked Quimba to take them instead to Baseco Compound where they dumped the box in the river.
They then asked him to drop them off at the mall, only a few meters away from Islam's condominium unit.
Curious and suspicious of the two men's actions by now, Quimba went to the police.
When policemen retrieved the box, they found the victim's body.
Using the information provided by the Grab driver, they went to the condo unit in Mandaluyong City where he had picked up the suspects up. With the help of the building administrator, policemen identified Masters and Woody.
They then coordinated with barangay officials near the Robinsons mall in Ermita who showed them footage taken by closed circuit television cameras that helped them track down the suspects.