Emmanuel Ponce, 55 a retired overseas worker (OFW) is believed to have murdered four family members and the family housemaid on Sunday morning at their home in Palm View Village, Barangay Tabunok,Talisay City,Cebu,Philippines.
The victims his wife Melinda, 53, three of their four children – eldest daughter Elaine Grace, 26; Heather Joy, 25; and son Emlin Bridge, 18 — and their helper Anastacia Deniega, 30 all died from gunshot wounds as did the suspected murder Emmanuel Ponce. The only survivor being Embrelaine the 13 year old daughter of the family.
Neighbours and relatives have commented on the strained relationship of Emmanuel and his wife Melinda stating he was a jealous man. Just before the incident Emmanuel had visited tenants requesting when they will be vacating the property. At that time everything appeared normal.
Police arrived shortly after gunfire but were too late to intervene and Emmanuel had already shot himself along with the victims. The six victims were rushed to the nearby Talisay District Hospital but were all declared DOA. An autopsy confirmed that the victims had died from gunshot wounds, the wife Melinda had received two shots to the neck, Elaine Grace and Heather Joy were shot in the head. Emlin Bridge received four gunshots one on his right cheek,head,left forearm and thigh the housemaid Anastacia was shot in the chest. Emmanuel after the killings then committed suicide by shooting himself in the right temple.
Seven empty casings were recovered at the scene as well as three slugs and a metal fragment from a .45 pistol the only witness to what happened was the young daughter Embrelaine. Emmanuel had no previous convictions and police have still to confirm ownership of a license for the firearm. But a friend of Melinda who allegedly Melinda confided in said that Emmanuel used to beat Melinda and the children as well as previously threatening them. Melinda had seeked separation but Emmanuel had refused, although living under the same roof they no longer talked and Emmanuel had a relationship with another woman.
Around 10 years ago Emmanuel had an accident while working as a seaman on a vessel. Although treated for the injury he had suffered with nervous breakdowns since and was believed to be very volatile.
After returning from working abroad Emmanuel had supported the family by funds from property rentals. Daughters Elaine Grace and Heather Joy were both nurses and had applied for work in Australia, Emlin Bridge was a second year student at Cebu doctors university.
The housemaid Anastacia had only married last June and has left a devastated husband behind. Ronald the husband of Anastacia had voiced his opinion that Anastacia should quit work as his income could support the both of him after hearing concerns about Emmanuel’s behaviour.
Poor service by Talisay City District Hospital
Relatives voiced concerns on Sunday why the bodies of the deceased were left outside the hospital with short blankets which left a nephew of Melinda’s to complain that ants were crawling over Melinda’s body. But not only were the bodies left out in the sun they were also in view of a crowd of people outside the hospital viewing in from an iron gate. The bodies being there between 10am and 3pm.
The doctor in charge on Sunday refused to comment and declined to take questions on the subject.