Jastine Valdez was strangled to death, post mortem results show

A book of condolence has been opened in Enniskerry

Jastine Valdez was strangled to death, post mortem results show

Image: Stephanie Grogan

Updated: 19.00

It has been confirmed that 24-year-old student Jastine Valdez was strangled to death.

Her body was found in Rathmichael, south Dublin on Monday.

She was last seen being forced into a car in Enniskerry in Co Wicklow on Saturday.

Gardaí are examining a blood stained note which was found in the car of her suspected abductor, Mark Hennessy, who was shot dead by gardaí on Sunday.

A vigil for Ms Valdez has taken place in her home village of Enniskerry.

While a book of condolence has been opened in the Powerscourt Arms Hotel in the village.

Gardaí investigating her disappearance are renewing their appeal to the public.

They are particularly interested in the movement a black Nissan Qashqai - registered number 171 D 20419 - and the driver of the vehicle, Mark Hennessy, between 5.00pm on Saturday May 19th and 8.00pm on Sunday May 20th.

Hennessy is described as 176 cm (5'9'') in height, of slight build and balding.

He was wearing a dark coloured t-shirt, blue jeans and grey runners at the time.

Emergency services next to a Nissan Qashqai (centre) at a business park in the Cherrywood area of Dublin | Image: Peter Varga/PA Wire/PA Images

Officers would particularly like to speak with people who were in the Dalkey, Killiney, Ballybrack, Sallynoggin, Cherrywood and Rathmichael areas.

They say the car may have stopped at restaurants, cafés, petrol station shops or bars in those areas.

"If you travelled in this part of county Dublin between Saturday and Sunday evenings and you have a dash cam fitted please contact us and make the footage available to investigators", they add.

Anyone with information should contact Bray garda station on 01-6665-300, the Garda Confidential Line at 1800-666-111 or any garda station.

Jastine Valdez | Image: Garda Press Office

Vigil

Jastine was born in the Philippines and came to Ireland to study.

An only child, she came to join her parents who are naturalised Irish citizens.

Both parents work and are active in the community. 

A preliminary post mortem was carried out at the scene, and it indicates time of death was about 36 hours to 48 hours before the remains were found.

A priest visited the scene where the body was found in Rathmichael on Monday night, before it was removed to the city morgue for a post mortem.

A blue tent has been erected where this body was found, and a handful of garda officers are at the scene - cutting away the gorse around it.

Nearby, locals have been laying flowers and leaving notes.

One note states: "Jastine, I never knew you but my heart is broken for you and your family."

An online fund set up to help the 24 year old’s family has raised more than €60,000.

On the GoFundMe page, the organiser says any and all funds will go directly to her parents to help them in the weeks and months ahead.

A Dublin-based solicitor has offered to oversee and audit the account pro bono, and will verify all funds are paid directly to the Valdez family.

Image: Stephanie Grogan

Local Wicklow TD John Brady said earlier that the vigil is a chance for people to pay their respects to Jastine.

"People really don't know what to be doing or what they can do, but they want to show their support for Jastine's family - who are obviously going through a horrendous time at this stage.

"So they're organising a vigil at 7.00pm at the clock-tower in Enniskerry village".

Suspect

Hennessy was shot dead by gardaí on Sunday evening at Cherrywood in south Dublin.

He was believed to be armed with a knife at the time.

Little is known about the Bray man,  who was was from Co Wicklow and married with children.

But he had a conviction for headbutting someone almost 20 years ago, and was recently before the courts on a drink-driving charge.

Mark Hennessy | Image: Facebook/Mark Hennessy

It is understood a note was found in the Nissan Qashqai car and is now being examined.

However it is covered heavily in blood – believed to Hennessy's own.

At this stage, gardaí still believe the attack was completely random.

With reporting by Stephanie Grogan, Stephen McNiece and Jack Quann