By JEAN FERNANDO • DHEL NAZARIO
The urn containing the ashes of Maria Pilar “Pipie” Cruz, a Filipina who was found dead in America in 2004, was returned to her family yesterday, more than three weeks after it was stolen from a mausoleum in Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.
Southern Police District (SPD) director Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario said that a concerned citizen called up last Tuesday and expressed his desire to surrender the urn after learning about the robbery from the social media.
Apolinario said that the concerned citizen whom he no longer identified claimed that the urn was sold to him by the suspect, Dionisio Layson, 30, a resident of 47 Sampaguita St., Clinic Ville Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City, for P1,800.
He said that a coordination was immediately made with Malou, sister of Pipie, for the return of the urn to the family.
The SPD chief said that at 1:00 p.m. yesterday, the urn of Pipie was turned over to the family. It was received by her father and other members of the family before it was finally brought back to the family’s mausoleum in Manila Memorial Park.
The gold-plated urn was stolen on March 3 from the mausoleum. One of the suspects Layson, was nabbed a week later in a follow-up police operation.
The urn of Pipie’s mother was also stolen but, fortunately, the family was able to transfer her ashes to a different container before the incident happened.
Layson told police that the urn may have already been empty when his two companions whom he called “Louie” and “Marvin” gave it to him to sell it. Layson was able to sell it at a junk shop in Las Piñas City.
Apolinario however confirmed that the ashes of Pipie were intact inside the urn.
Apolinario said that the Cruz family narrated to him that Pipie, a banker based in New York City, died after undergoing surgery for cyst in her tongue in 2004.
The family claimed that the surgery was performed by an unlicensed doctor identified as Dean Faiello, a Latin-American, who was later arrested by the New York Police in 2005.
Pipie reportedly suffered a seizure while undergoing operation. Her body was placed in a suit case and buried at the basement of Faiello’s house.
After one year of search for Pipie, her body was discovered after Faiello’s former male lover tipped the police that the victim was buried at the basement.
The body of Pipie was cremated and brought back to the Philippines and laid to rest at the family’s mausoleum in 2006.
The police official said that a robbery case was filed against Layson after his arrest.