Authorities on Friday terminated the search and retrieval operations for the remains of Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel which was believed to have been dumped in seas between Caubian Island and Olango Channel in Lapu-Lapu City on June 7.
According to Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LCPO) director Sr. Supt. Rommel Bernardo Cabagnot, they have already conducted 51 dives in 21 days but have still not located the mayor’s body.
“Nega gyod…Humana ang search-retrieval. Sad to say wa gyod nato makita ang patay nga lawas ni mayor Gisela. We made 52dives in 21days, averaging more or less 50m depth,” said Cabagnot in a text message to DYRD Balita.
However, Cabagnot noted that the LCPO and the dive team are ready to resume the search once new information and signs of the body’s presence surface.
“Anytime ready ang atong mga divers kung may bagong development sa kaso,” added Cabagnot.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño had previously bared that they were about to end the operations as these have not been able to yield the mayor’s body.
The police official noted that he would not allow resources to be depleted while the divers continued to come up empty-handed.
Earlier, police conducted a reenactment of the final moments of Boniel in a bid to direct authorities to the body’s dump site.
The activity led police to a slightly different “grid coordinate” but was still in the same area as the previous search.
A few more dives were conducted after the reenactment, but again, to no avail.
Meanwhile, Taliño also bared that authorities were not able to extract anything for DNA testing from a blanket found by the divers last month within the search zone.
Only the blood stains found in a motorized banca also last month were among evidence included to point out the killing of Boniel allegedly by her husband Nino Rey Boniel, said Taliño.
DNA profile of a sample extracted from the traces of blood in the said boat matched that of a saliva swab taken from Boniel’s mother, based on a report released by the police on Wednesday.
The motorized boat which was believed to have been used to dump the mayor’s body at sea was found at an island off mainland Bien Unido. (Allen Doydora)