Mullahoran mum helps Jastine on her final journey
The remains of young Filipino woman Jastine Valdez, who was murdered in Wicklow, will be repatriated to the Philippines later today (Tuesday).
Tragic Jastine’s final journey has been made possible largely by the proceeds of a major online fundraising drive, co-ordinated by a Mullahoran mum of two.
Filipino native Vanda Marie Brady was one of the leading charges behind the Go Fund Me campaign, which to date has raised over €136,000 for Jastine Valdez’s bereaved family.
Jastine’s body (24) was discovered in undergrowth in the Puck's Castle area of Co Dublin on Monday of last week, May 21.
Mark Hennessy (40) from Bray is suspected of kidnapping and strangling her in an apparently random attack in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. He was shot dead by gardaí in Cherrywood Business Park in Dublin on May 20.
Vanda also assisted this week in final arrangements for the repatriation of tragic Jastine’s remains through Outreach Ireland, an organisation that provides Consular Outreach Mission supports to Filipinos living here. Vanda is the organisation’s co-ordinator.
She told the Celt this week that it has been an emotional journey this past two weeks from the time Jastine was first reported missing until her body was found and right through to today's repatriation.
“When we first found out that the body of Jastine Valdez was still missing, we decided to start a silent vigil for her body to be found.
“Then they found the body and it was suggested that they raise money. Raymond Garrett, former director of operations of the Filipino Consulate in Dublin, did all the ground work and set up the fund and we worked closely together on the initiative,” said Vanda.
Initially the fund was designed to help with the repatriation and the flights but the level of funding has gone way beyond that goal. The additional money raised will assist the family when they return home after the tragic loss of their only daughter.
Vanda told The Anglo-Celt that there are around 50 Filipino families now living in County Cavan. She said there is a sense of devastation among the entire Filipino community locally and nationally over Jastine’s murder.
The Cavan Filipino community had a mass for the intentions of the late Jastine Valdez at the Cathedral of Ss Patrick and Felim in Cavan Town last Sunday.
There is also a Filipino Independence Day celebration planned for June 16 in Killygarry Community Centre in memory of Jastine and Vanda revealed that Deputy Brendan Smith will be in attendance.
“We were planning an event even without this sad happening – it was being designed to reach out to the community and let them know what our culture is about,” explained Vanda.
She lives with her husband Shane Brady and two children, Charlie (6) and daughter Guia (4) in Killydream, Loughduff, and Vanda says that “farming and football is the life here”.
Vanda works as a marketing executive for a software company in Dublin from home.
Meanwhile, Jastine’s parents Teresita and Danilo Valdez, are due to travel on a flight with their daughter’s remains later today. They will be accompanied by Honorary Consul for the Phillippines in Ireland Mark Christopher Congdon. Vanda is also at Dublin Airport on behalf of Outreach Ireland to offer support and assistance to the Valdez family at this difficult time.
The flight is due to leave Dublin Airport and travel to Manila via Dubai this afternoon.
The Valdez family issued a final message of sincere thanks to the Irish people for their support yesterday.
Meanwhile, gardaí investigating the murder have issued a renewed appeal to the public for information.
They say they are particularly interested in tracing the whereabouts of a blue shoulder bag which was purchased in a Next retail store.
The bag contains a Bershka jacket, Nike runners, a Leap Card, an iPad mini, make-up, purple reading glasses with a pink tint and lip balm.
Gardaí also want to speak to any passengers who travelled with Jastine on the 185C Dublin Bus on the evening of Saturday, May 19.
Anyone with information should contact Bray Garda Station on 01-6665300, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111 or any garda station.
If you would like to contribute to the fund, click HERE