7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

'Find Grace' plea by envoy

POLICE have been urged to step up their search for missing Filipina Grace Nodalo.

The 38-year-old disappeared nearly a week ago and police are still working their way through by talking to colleagues and neighbours.

Her husband, July Nodalo, was held for 12 hours after reporting her missing last Tuesday.

He is under the custody of the Philippines Embassy and is barred by police from entering the couple's one-bedroom East Riffa flat.

Mrs Nodalo was under investigation by her employers at Bahrain Financing Company over the alleged theft of BD14,000 earlier this year.

The cashier was due at a company meeting on the morning she disappeared.

Mrs Nodalo is the second Filipina to disappear in Bahrain in less than eight months.

Debt collector Gracie Montibon, aged 42, vanished without trace last November.

"We are hoping that we will be able to find out what happened to Grace Nodalo and to this day we are still trying to discover what really happened to Gracie Montibon," said embassy consular assistant Ramon Nerida.

Police last Thursday took about eight hair combs and brushes, toothbrushes and sandals from Mr and Mrs Nodalo's home in East Riffa in the presence of embassy officials.

"We believe this has something to do with determining the DNA of Grace Nodalo," said Mr Nerida.

"But unfortunately, to this day we have not received word from the police whether droplets found at the apartment building were blood or not. We are still waiting."

Mr Nerida was due at East Riffa Police Station yesterday, but officers postponed the meeting, saying they were busy dealing with arrests during a protest over jobs outside the Royal Court.

"I spoke to them on the phone and just requested that if possible, they should focus on interviewing other people now instead of just focusing on July Nodalo as the main suspect," said Mr Nerida.

"How about interviewing personnel in the BFC, where Grace works and staff at Ahli United Bank in East Riffa, where the BD14,000 was said to be deposited."

Mr Nerida said police assured him that more people would be called in for interviews soon.

Mr Nodalo found his wife's mobile phone and droplets of what appeared to be blood at the gate to their flat, when he got home from work at around 2.15pm last Tuesday.


Mr Nerida said the droplets looked as if they had come from the apartment of a Yemeni neighbour.

"As far as we know, the police have also taken the statement of this neighbour, as well as the Bahraini driver who was asked to pick her up to go to the BFC in Manama that morning," said Mr Nerida.

Mr Nodalo said he last saw his wife as he left for work at 6.15am last Tuesday morning and reported her missing when he got home in the afternoon.

"I remember calling her at 7.30am but her phone was busy," he told the GDN yesterday.

"When I saw her mobile phone on the ground later that day, I saw at least 29 missed calls and two text messages from different people, including me, her employer, her aunt who is here in Bahrain and other numbers I did not recognise."

Mrs Nodalo was put under investigation by the BFC, where she worked as a cashier, over the alleged theft of BD14,000 earlier this year.

She was away on holiday with her husband and their two children when the allegations began and returned to clear her name, said her husband.

Mr Nodalo is convinced she is alive, but being held somewhere against her will.

"I think she is somewhere and is alive, being held against her will. I have a feeling it has something to do with the missing money," he said.

Their two children, former Sacred Heart School pupils, Jed, 12, and Jaime, aged six, are in Bicol, Philippines, unaware that their mother is missing.

"I haven't had the heart to tell them," said Mr Nodalo.

"They think that their mother is in Manila, because they made her swear that she wouldn't come back to Bahrain."

Mr Nodalo, a Defence Ministry technician, was kept in custody for over 12 hours by police and later BDF military police, after reporting his wife missing.

He was released into the care of the Philippine Embassy last Wednesday.

Embassy resident doctor Ivanhoe Escartin is checking the Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) admissions, emergency room and even the morgue each day, in case anyone matching Mrs Nodalo's description is brought in.

Embassy officials have also checked detention centres.

Mrs Nodalo was getting ready to go to a meeting with her employer at the BFC in Manama last Tuesday morning - but never showed up.

The Bahraini company driver went to pick her up from her flat for the meeting, but left when she did not show, said sources.

Mr and Mrs Nodalo were both active members of the Filipino community and the multinational Christian group, Shepherd's Flock.

Several Christian church members last Friday began distributing flyers with Mrs Nodalo's photograph asking people to come forward with more information.

BFC refused to comment on the case.

Anyone with information is requested to contact the nearest police station or the embassy on 17250990.

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