Police rules out third party in Hsieh family deaths
MANILA, Philippines – Police ruled out foul play in the deaths of 5 members of a Filipino-Taiwanese family in a San Juan City condominium on Saturday, February 7.
Autopsy reports released late Monday, February 9, showed asphyxiation as the cause of their deaths. Their heads were covered with plastic bags when they were found Saturday.
"The involvement of another party is negative," San Juan City Police chief Senior Superintendent Ariel Arcinas told Rappler in a phone interview Tuesday, February 10. Instead, all signs point to suicide. (READ: SUICIDE: A note to every Filipino)
Investigation shows Taiwanese Luis Hsieh and his wife Roxanne left at least 4 notes before they died: one in the office, another in their master’s bedroom, and two notes delivered by their maid to neighbor Grace Tan Un Huey-Chua and the administration of Midland Park Manor Condominium.
Arcinas considers the note in the bedroom as the suicide note. It mentioned "financial difficulties," and was signed by both parents. (READ: The whys of suicide)
The 3 other notes were more of instructions for Chua, the condominium administration, and the employees of the family’s furniture business. Arcinas said the office note "established" the suicide angle.
“We talked to the bookkeeper. The note left with the bookkeeper contains a list of employees who will receive compensation. They also gave instructions regarding the export materials left, and they thanked those who supported them for the past years,” Arcinas said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The police recovered documents of loan interests in the office. The couple also reportedly told the bookkeeper to "take anything they can take in the showroom."
Talking about suicide
But instead of calling it mass suicide, Arcinas said someone executed the suicide, and based on where the investigation is heading, it is likely the father. (READ: How to spot suicidal tendencies in your loved ones)
"The children themselves, 'di nila gagawin 'yun. Ang sabi ng mga kapitbahay, 'di alam na seseryosohin ng mag-asawa 'yung pagpapakamatay. In the course of conversations, k'wentuhan, minsan napag-uusapan na 'yung pagpapakamatay, 'di alam na tototohanin," he said.
(The children themselves wouldn't do that. The neighbors said they didn't know the couple would really take their lives. In the course of conversations, they sometimes talked about suicide, but no one knew they'd really do it.)
Two of their children, John (12 years old) and Jeff (13 years old), were found in the master's bedroom with their parents, while their daughter – 20-year-old Amanda – was found dead in her room.
The San Juan City police is still waiting for the results of a separate toxicology report.
"We’re waiting for scientific findings para maging conclusive, 'di mabutasan (so our report will be conclusive and there won't be any problems)," Arcinas said.
As requested by the parents in their note to Chua, the family will be cremated on Wednesday, February 11. – Rappler.com
Notes image via Shutterstock