Almost €60k raised in fundraising effort to assist parents of Jastine Valdez

Rizza and Katrina Mamuric at the vigil for Jastine

Sean Nolan, Allison Bray and Ryan Nugent

A fundraising effort has been launched to assist the parents of murdered student Jastine Valdez.

Ms Valdez, 24 and originally from the Philippines, was abducted and murdered in Wicklow on Saturday before her suspected killer, Mark Hennessy, was shot and died on Sunday in Cherrywood.

Outreach Ireland, a group who work with the Filipino community in Ireland, have set up a GoFundMe page to assist the family of Ms Valdez.

On the page it states: "This page was set up to facilitate all of those who wish to offer support and sympathy to the family of Jastine Valdez following her devastating death."

It adds that: "Any and all funds raised on this page will go directly to the parents of Jastine Valdez to help them in the weeks and months ahead. "

So far the page has raised almost €60,000.

Murdered Jastine Valdez

Ms Valdez' father Danillo and her mother Teresita moved here in 1985 from the province of Nueva Vizcaya.

Danillo worked for many years as a gardener while his wife worked as a housekeeper before they moved to Enniskerry, where he took a job as a maintenance man at the nearby Powerscourt Estate. Teresita manages a house connected with the estate.

Tragically both Jastine and her mother would walk the same road 'twice a day' where the student was abducted on Saturday.

Jastine lived with her grandparents in the Philippines before moving here to join her parents, who are naturalised Irish citizens.

According to a family friend, she moved here reluctantly but embraced life once she arrived.

The friend had known the family for years, but only met Jastine once. "She was just a tiny girl and very shy," she said.

"It's very sad, it's devastating, it's tragic," she added.

Meanwhile, at vigils and prayer services across the country last night friends of Ms Valdez paid tribute to the student.

Jastine’s friend Katrina Mamuric told the Irish Independent at a vigil in Bray of her shock at the killing. She said: “We used to live in the same hometown and we know the family really well.

“She’s very loving, caring, just genuinely very nice.

“We’ve known each other since we were kids.

“She was looking forward to having a better life in Ireland,” she said.

A service was also held at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in Dublin’s city centre last night.

Shop owner Engracia Alteza said the 16,000-strong Filipino community in Ireland was united in grief over the senseless abduction and killing of the accountancy student.

Fr Rene Esoy told the small gathering: “As a Filipino community, we extend to the family our consolation over what happened to Jastine. This is a sad day for all of us Filipinos.”

Irish consul to the Philippines Mark Congdon also attended to pay his respects to Jastine.