Fugitive in '82 slayings wants to face charges
After 25 years on the run, Robert Saquil Besabe said Thursday he's ready to face charges in the slaying of a pregnant Seattle woman. He says he does...
The Associated Press
MANILA, Philippines — After 25 years on the run, Robert Saquil Besabe said Thursday he's ready to face charges in the slaying of a pregnant Seattle woman.
He says he does not remember much of what happened Aug. 16, 1982, claiming he was on drugs at the time. But in time, he said, he would like to talk with the slain woman's family and apologize.
For the past quarter-century, Philippine-born Besabe, now 51, has been on the U.S. FBI's most-wanted list, charged with killing Carolina Montoya and her unborn child in a fit of anger.
"I'm sorry for what happened," Besabe told The Associated Press in an interview at the Immigration Bureau's detention center, even as he refused to admit he shot Montoya.
"I want to go back to face the charges and to clear my name," he said. "I'm getting old."
The unmarried father of three also said he hoped to see his children in the United States for the first time since the slaying.
The break in the cold case came when Besabe walked into the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Sept. 13 to seek a new U.S. passport, claiming his old one — which expired three years after the slaying — had been lost or stolen, embassy Legal Attaché Stephen Cutler said in a letter to the head of the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation.
On Monday, Besabe was arrested at his girlfriend's house in the town of Dasmarinas, 31 miles south of the capital, Manila, the Immigration Bureau added.
Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan has ordered him deported to Seattle to face charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and flight to avoid prosecution.
It was unclear how long extradition would take. But Besabe said he was thinking of seeking voluntary deportation, which would speed up his return to the U.S.
Besabe said his life in the Philippines has not been easy or happy. He has no family remaining there and has had to rely on the help of friends, including one who hired him as a driver.
"My life is ruined. The damage has been done," Besabe said.
According to court records and newspaper reports at the time of the slaying, Besabe had just broken up with Montoya's friend, identified as Eleanor Velasco — also identified in U.S. Embassy documents by the last name Volasco. Montoya, a pregnant model, was giving her friend a ride home when they stopped to give Besabe a ride, too.
Prosecutors in Seattle say Besabe pulled a gun, told Montoya to stop the car, shot her in the head and fired once at Velasco but missed her.
Besabe, who was 17 when he emigrated to the United States, said he could not remember the full name of his ex-girlfriend or much of what happened.
Doctors delivered Montoya's son by Caesarean section, but he died two days later. Montoya lingered in a coma for a month before dying.
The investigation dried up after Besabe vanished. Montoya's father died 19 years ago without seeing justice for the slaying, and her mother has reportedly moved back to the Philippines.
Philippine police said Wednesday that Besabe had not been arrested for any offense during his time in the Philippines.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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