Fresh garda appeal as family prepares to bring Jastine Valdez home

Student (24) was murdered after being abducted in Enniskerry on Saturday, May 19th


Gardaí have appealed to passengers who travelled on a bus service with Jastine Valdez on the evening she was abducted, to come forward.

Ms Valdez (24), who was from the Philippines, travelled on a 185c bus between Bray and Powerscourt on Saturday, May 19th. She was abducted after getting off the bus as she walked towards her home in Enniskerry.

Investigators are also continuing to try to find a blue shoulder bag that the student was believed to be carrying when she was bundled into a car by Mark Hennessy, who went on to murder her before being shot by a member of the garda.

The blue shoulder bag contained an iPad mini, a jacket, Nike runners, make-up, lip balm, purple reading glasses and a Leap card. Gardaí believe the contents of the bag could assist their investigation.

The Valdez family is due to return to the Philippines with her body on Tuesday.

Mark Christopher Congdon, honorary consul for the Philippines in Ireland, said he would be accompanying the family to insure a smooth transition and to attend the 24-year-old’s funeral in their hometown over the coming days.

In a statement on Monday, Mr Congdon said the spirit of “love and compassion” has shone from the Valdez home “like a beacon of light in a dark tunnel of torment” since Jastine’s death.

“The obvious unabounding light of love for Jastine, unconditional, pure and absolute,” he said.

“Jastine will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Always in the hearts of Mum and Dad and the hearts of the Filipino and Irish nations bound together forever in grief in Jastine’s name.”

‘Cruel fate’

Mr Congdon said there is sincere compassion from Ms Valdez’s parents Teresita and Danilo for the Hennessy family “left behind as innocent victims of a cruel fate”.

“Tess and Dani understand this horrific pain and have shown incredible strength, understanding and sympathy for their plight while in the midst of the worst calamity imaginable,” he said.

“Their depth of strength and empathy is both formidable, humbling and quite incredible to witness.”

Mr Congdon noted prayer vigils held for Ms Valdez and donations made through a gofundme page, which has raised more than €140,000. He also thanked friends of the Valdez family for their care “in this most difficult of difficult times”.

“Finally let me speak of a heartbroken nation that Jastine will leave behind as she makes her final journey home to the bosom of her family, cousins and friends,” he concluded.

“That heartbroken nation is Ireland and forever more, Jastine Jeryl Valdez will always be loved and remembered as the cherished, beautiful, fun loving, hardworking, devoted daughter and granddaughter of the Philippines who has been adopted in the hearts of the people of Ireland as one of our own forever more.”

The Valdex and Hennessy families issued a short statement on Sunday which said they had met last Friday “in the midst of our grief”.

“We exchanged sympathies with each other on the tragic circumstances that resulted in the loss of our respective love ones.”

Hennessy, a 40-year-old, a father of two, who lived in Bray, Co Wicklow, was cremated on Saturday.