Lack of witnesses frustrates Stephanie's kin

Posted at 01/03/13 10:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The uncle of stray bullet fatality Stephanie Nicole Ella on Thursday aired his frustration over the lack of any witness to his niece's shooting.

Marvin Ella 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 entertained since the incident.

He urged neighbors who may have witnessed anyone firing indiscriminately during the New Year revelries to coordinate with them. This, as investigators suspect that the shooter was living not far from the Ella residence.

"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."

Marvin also vowed not to stop until he finds Stephanie's shooter.

"Tsaka sa namaril, hindi kami titigil hangga't di namin nabibigyan ng hustisya si Nicole. Iyan ang asahan niyo," he said, addressing the still unidentified gunman.

Stephanie Nicole was hit by a stray bullet in the head while she and her family were outside their house celebrating the 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 Philippine National Police - Crime Laboratory at around 11 p.m. Wednesday.

The PNP-Crime Laboratory said the report will be released after five working days.

Stephanie's death 'a tragedy'

The Aquino administration on Wednesday said Stephanie Nicole's death was a tragedy. It extended its sympathies to the girl's family.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the entire nation is coming together in grief over Ella's death.

"This tragedy is a sobering reminder of how a reprehensible act from a thoughtless individual can rob our people, particularly our children, of their futures. For such a promising life to be lost in such a senseless way puts the burden on all of us to make certain that this tragedy is not repeated. We continue to call on all Filipinos: Let us consider the welfare of our countrymen by engaging in celebrations in a responsible and safe manner."

The Philippine National Police said it has recorded 40 incidents of stray bullets nationwide during the New Year revelry. PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo told radio dzMM police have arrested at least 18 suspects for indiscriminate firing of their guns.

Twelve of the suspects come from Metro Manila, he said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona earlier urged the public for a culture change by refraining from the use of powerful firecrackers and firing guns to celebrate the New Year.– with reports from Jacque Manabat, dzMM; and Johnson Manabat, dzMM