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Student's body 'forgotten' in Manila morgue

Meritxell Mir · 4 Jan 2012, 10:01

Published: 04 Jan 2012 10:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Jan 2012 10:01 GMT+01:00

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The body of a 24-year-old student languished in a Manila morgue for more than three months before the family of the deceased was notified.

The parents of Alexander Reich, together with a team of international investigators, searched desperately for the 24-year-old man for more than three months, but he had died the same day he disappeared.

Filipino media have revealed that the body was discovered a few hours after Reich was shot in the head in Antipolo City, 25 kilometres from the capital Manila.

Local residents reported hearing gunshot and the sound of a vehicle leaving the area. When the police arrived at the scene, they found the body in a vacant lot, Inquirer News reports. 

Reich's body was brought to the local morgue where it remained unidentified and forgotten for more than three months. It was not until Monday afternoon that the city's deputy police chief informed the unit in charge of the investigation that they had located the victim's body.

According to Inquirer News, the Antipolo police should have reported the body’s discovery to the National Capital Region Police Office, particularly since it involved a foreign national.

“It’s standard procedure,” said Ding Pascu, the police officer who led a search that involved Filipino, Swiss and American investigators.

The young man’s family revealed on Monday that the 24-year-old student was murdered on September 22nd, the day he disappeared. His parents released the tragic news on a Facebook page they had created to raise funds for the search, without giving additional information.

Zurich cantonal police told newspaper 20 Minutes on Monday evening that they had no further details on the circumstances surrounding Reich’s murder.

Story continues below…

The family had initially remained silent, letting investigators do their job. However, on December 14th, the young man's father, Manuel Reich, travelled to the Philippines and offered a reward of 4,250 francs ($4,540) to anybody who could provide information about his son's whereabouts.

Reich had travelled to the Philippines in August to take a language course. The 24-year-old student from Brüttisellen, in canton Zurich, was regularly in touch with his family and friends in Switzerland.

The last piece of information came in the form of a text message he sent at 1am on September 22nd to a friend in Manila. "I am in a white car with friends — coming soon," he wrote. But he never showed up.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

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