Funeral of Jastine Valdez takes place in the Philippines, weeks after murder
THE funeral of the young student Jastine Valdez, who was abducted and murdered in Wicklow, has taken place in her home town in the Philippines.
The 24-year-old was abducted on her way home in Enniskerry in May before being killed by Mark Hennessy in a random attack.
Her body was repatriated to her native Philippines last month, and her parents kept her remains in repose at their family home for a number of weeks.
Today, the funeral of Ms Valdez took place in her hometown of Aritao.
A large crowd of family, friends and neighbours attended the local church for a funeral mass and blessing, before the young woman was buried in the adjoining graveyard.
Meanwhile, the tragic young student's family, including her parents Teresita and Danilo, have expressed their gratitude for a memorial Mass, which was held in her honour at the former Rutland Hospital in Dublin last week.
Mark Congdon, Honorary Consul of the Philippines in Ireland, also said that the Valdez family thanked the Irish people for their ongoing support.
"The Mass was held in recognition of Jastine's 40th day since her passing. This is a Filipino custom similar to the Irish Month's Mind.
"I am in regular contact with the Valdez family at this most difficult of difficult times as they prepare for the funeral service," Mr Congdon said.
"They have expressed their sincere gratitude for the Mass held in Jastine's honour in Dublin at the INMO head office, the former Rutland Hospital, and thank the Irish people for their continued support.
"I'm in regular contact with them, by phone and messaging.
"Obviously they're finding it very, very difficult, particularly coming up to the funeral service.
"They're very thankful to everyone who attended the Mass, which was held in honour of Jastine and it meant a lot to them," he added.
The remains of Ms Valdez were discovered near Puck's Castle Lane, Rathmichael, south Dublin, following a massive search operation for the missing student.
Gardaí believe she was abducted by Hennessy near her home in Enniskerry before being murdered within an hour of her disappearance.
A significant Garda operation was launched, and Hennessy was eventually tracked down to a car park in Cherrywood, south Dublin.
During a stand-off with two gardaí, including an armed detective, he was shot once in the shoulder as he sat in his black Nissan Qashqai, which he used to abduct Ms Valdez. This bullet ricocheted into his abdomen, causing fatal injuries.
- Read more: 'Our daughter planned to settle in Ireland, buy a house and make a new life' - Jastine Valdez's parents
A Gsoc investigation is currently under way into the circumstances surrounding his death.
A hand-written note was recovered in the SUV, which had the words 'Sorry' and 'Puck's Castle' written on it.
Gardaí then focused their search operation on the Puck's Castle area, where the remains of Ms Valdez were located less than 48 hours after she was first reported missing.
CCTV images captured Hennessy continuing his drink and drug-fuelled session in south Dublin in the hours after he had murdered Ms Valdez.
Detectives believe that he bought cocaine at a Ballybrack pub, and continued taking drugs throughout the 24-hour period from when he abducted Jastine to when he was confronted by gardaí.
A post-mortem examination, conducted by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan, found that the Filipino student had died as a result of manual strangulation.