NBI reopens case on mountaineer's 'mysterious' death
MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has reopened the case of UP-educated mountaineer Victor Ayson whose death last year is now described by probers as "mysterious."
In its progress reports dated April 7 and April 14, the team found evidence of foul play but has yet to reverse the conclusions of a previous report by the NBI Death Investigation Division that terminated the case.
The latest report came a year and a day after Ayson's body was found on a lower portion of Mt Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas on April 13, 2013. The 27-year-old mountaineer went on a solo hiking trip to the said mountain and was reported missing after two weeks.
The new NBI investigating team that reopened the case thinks Ayson "was defecating when he was murdered because he has no underwear when autopsied," contradicting a 2013 police report that ruled out foul play.
The 2013 autopsy results on Ayson ruled his death as caused by "blunt traumatic injuries in the body consistent with fall from height," which included a fractured jaw, ribs, and pelvis. The fall was accidental, based on police investigation.
In its search for new evidence, the new NBI team found Ayson's black underwear positively identified by his father near an area of tall grasses in Mt Maculot where campers defecate, reinforcing its theory on Ayson's death.
The team climbed Mt Maculot on April 2 and April 9.
The April 7 progress report right after the team's first climb detailed other pieces of evidence indicating foul play: a fist-sized rock wrapped in a plastic bag suspected to be the murder weapon and a rope left hanging on a tree in an area not visited by hikers and suspected to have been used in bringing Ayson's body down in a crevice.
The crevice, the report said, leads to a trail connected to where Ayson's body was found on April 13, 2013.
"The manner by which the rock was wrapped was somewhat to simulate a hammer as the plastic bag served as the handle... Said murder weapon justifies why victim has a hematoma the size of a tennis ball below his elbow... It is one of his defense wound (sic)," the report read.
The new team also found the belongings of Ayson that were left unretrieved during the 2013 investigation.
"The relentless effort in pursuit of justice paid off when after a year, the missing items such as the red back pack, the SLR camera, the wallet and other items belonging to the victim were found in the forest of Mt Maculot," the report read.
"When his bag was found, his SLR Camera was found inside showing proof that he was done with what he was doing contrary to what many believe that it was an accidental fall," it added.
Ayson's case was reopened after his parents appealed for a reinvestigation through a letter dated October 8, 2013.
The Ayson couple cited the non-retrieval of the their son's more expensive items during the initial 2013 investigation as cause to reopen the case.
The new NBI team assigned to reinvestigate Ayson's death has yet to conclude its probe. – Rappler.com
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