Thursday 21 June 2018

Jastine's parents 'inconsolable' at the loss of their only child

Jastine Valdez in a photo from her Facebook page
Jastine Valdez in a photo from her Facebook page

Allison Bray, Laura Lynott and Ryan Nugent

Jastine Valdez joined her parents in Ireland three years ago after completing a degree in accountancy in her native city of Aritao in the Philippines.

Her 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.

Prescilla Catayan, who is from Aritao, said her son Cyprus Cardenas (25), who went to school with Jastine as a child in the Philippines, was devastated to learn of her tragic death.

"He can't stop crying," she told the Irish Independent last night. "He is asking 'what can we do? It is so painful, Mama'. But we can do nothing, all we can do is pray," she said.

Ms Catayan said she rang Teresita last night to offer her support but Jastine's mother was "inconsolable" and could not speak.

It emerged that just weeks ago, Jastine enjoyed a meal in a Japanese restaurant with her family who were last night dealing with the tragedy that they would never see their daughter alive again.

"I recognised Jastine as soon as I saw her photo in the newspaper," said a waitress at the restaurant in Bray.

"I remember serving her. She was with her family and looked very happy. I was very sad to hear what happened to her."

"I saw Jastine, I recognised her instantly," said an elderly man drinking a coffee in Bray yesterday.

"I just can't remember which café it was. But I remember she served me and I won't ever forget her face now," he said of her part-time job as a waitress at a café in the town.

Studies

"That poor girl. No one can get over what's happened to her. It's just tragic."

The young woman had been a keen student.

Those who remember her said she had been a "lovely girl, who wanted to succeed".

Though she possessed a quiet, unassuming temperament, they said her studies mattered a great deal to her.

She was a part-time accountancy student and it was her vision to gain a good job in finance to build a life for herself in Ireland.

Without doubt, she would also have been planning to one day assist her parents, as their only child.

Friends of Jastine remembered someone who was loving and caring at vigils held in her memory last night. They said her studies and her family were the focus of her life.

Irish Independent

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