Dad now happy Stephanie Nicole no longer suffering
Ella family wants justice for Stephanie Nicole
Police not giving up on effort to find shooter
MANILA -- Although the family of seven-year-old stray bullet victim Stephanie Nicole Ella is still grieving over her tragic death, they are now relieved she is no longer suffering, Stephanie Nicole's father said on Thursday.
Jay Ella said the family is now focused on giving Stephanie Nicole justice.
"Tanggap naman na namin 'yung nangyari sa kanya. Sa ngayon po ang tinututukan talaga namin 'yung sa kaso Nicole para mabigyan namin siya ng hustisya sa nangyari sa kanya," he told radio dzMM.
"Masaya naman kami na hindi ganun katagal 'yung naging paghihirap niya," Jay added.
He said they also still feel Stephanie Nicole's presence even if she has already passed away.
"'Yung kwarto namin punung-puno ng alaala na iniwan ni Nicole, 'yung litrato niya, uniporme niya, sapatos niya, mga laruan. Talagang ramdam namin na andiyan pa rin siya, kasama pa namin siya," he said.
However, the victim's brother, Ken, is still deeply hurting over her sister's passing.
"Medyo pinipigil pa rin niya 'pag tinatanong ko kung malungkot siya, binabago niya 'yung usapan. Nasasaktan 'yung bata talaga kasi malapit sila ng ate niya. 'Pag tinatanong ko siya, napapaluha na lang siya," Jay said.
Lack of witnesses
The uncle of Stephanie Nicole, Marvin, earlier aired his frustration over the lack of any witness to his niece's shooting.
He said no one has come forward to give information about the shooting despite the numerous media interviews he and some members of the Ella family have given since the incident.
"Doon sa mga kapitbahay natin, nananawagan kami - buong pamilya ng Ella - na sana po mabigyan, matulungan kami sa pagkamit ng hustisya sa pagkamatay ni Stephanie Nicole," he told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."
"Huwag na po nating hintayin na mayroon pang isang Steph na tatamaan ng kung sino mang mamamaril."
Jay, likewise, urged neighbors who may have witnessed anyone firing indiscriminately on New Year's Eve to coordinate with the police.
"Sa mga taong sakaling nakakita, huwag silang matakot kasi kung 'di natin mapapahuli 'yung taong 'to, baka sakaling mangyari din 'to sa mga anak nila. Kaya dapat mahuli na 'tong suspect na 'to para mabigyan din natin siya ng hustisya at 'di mabalewala 'yung pagkawala niya."
Jay also appealed to the gunman who took his daughter's life to surrender.
"Sana makonsensya siya, sumuko siya. Buhay ng isang bata ang nasayang dahil sa kagagawan niya," he said.
Stray bullet from .45 caliber pistol
The Philippine National Police-Crime Laboratory said on Thursday that the bullet that hit the head of Stephanie Nicole was from a .45-caliber pistol.
In an earlier interview with radio dzMM on Thursday morning, Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, spokesperson of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said: "Napaka-importante po 'yung pagkuha ng slug na kumitil sa buhay ng bata. 'Yan po ay magiging basehan o ebidensiya para matukoy 'yung baril na pinagmulan ng slug."
"Gagamitin po natin itong mga basyo, slugs. Through forensic and ballistic examinations ma-determine kung saang baril galing 'yan," Carlos added.
Carlos said he is confident that police investigators will be able to trace the owner of the gun, even as the country is notorious for having numerous loose and unlicensed firearms.
"I believe hindi po imposible. Though magiging matagal ang proseso, what we have on our database and the slug recovered from the body of the victim. Ang magaling pong imbestigador, ang mahaba pong pasensya at determinadong pulis, will find a resolution to the case. I'm a positive thinker and I know very well that we have very good investigators in Metro Manila," he said.
Stephanie Nicole was hit by a stray bullet in the head while she and her family were watching fireworks outside their house in Caloocan on New Year's Eve.
She passed away at 2:26 p.m. Wednesday. Earlier, doctors at the East Avenue Medical Center said she suffered cardiac arrests and had slipped into a coma while inside the hospital.
An autopsy on her remains was conducted by members of the PNP-Crime Laboratory at around 11 p.m. Wednesday. - With a report from Gus Abelgas, ABS-CBN News; and dzMM