Philippine police identified a local woodcarver as a suspect in the killing of a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in a northern mountain village, and are following up leads on a possible accomplice, officials said Monday.
Senior Superintendent Pedro Ganir, police chief of Ifugao province, where Julia Campbell’s body was found last week in a shallow grave, named the suspect as Juan Dontugan, 25, from the village of Batad in Banaue township.
“We have leads that he was not alone,” Ganir told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, but refused to elaborate.
Dontugan has been at large since April 9, a day after Campbell was reported missing during a solo hike, Ganir said.
A police autopsy indicated that multiple blows to the head with a blunt instrument killed Campbell. Her arms also were injured, indicating that she tried to block the blows, police said.
National police chief Oscar Calderon earlier said police recovered a bloodstained piece of wood near the suspect’s home.
Dontungan is the husband of a woman who sold Campbell a Coca-Cola before she left on her hike.
Dontungan’s wife told GMA television her husband was not in Batad when Campbell disappeared, but Ganir, the police chief, said Dontungan didn’t leave the village until the following day.
Ganir said investigators were looking into charges of “robbery with homicide or rape with homicide.”
Stacy Mactaggert, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, said Campbell’s remains would be brought home to her family in Fairfax, Va., as soon as legal requirements, such as a death certificate, are completed.
The death of Campbell — a freelance journalist who had reported for The New York Times and other media organizations — left 136 other Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines. She had been teaching English at the Divine Word College in Albay province’s Legazpi city, southeast of Manila, since October 2006.