Persons of interest in case of missing beauty pageant bet identified

MANILA. The vehicle believed to be used by the persons of interest in the case of missing beauty pageant contestant from Pampanga Geneva Lopez and her Israeli boyfriend Yitshak Cohen.
MANILA. The vehicle believed to be used by the persons of interest in the case of missing beauty pageant contestant from Pampanga Geneva Lopez and her Israeli boyfriend Yitshak Cohen.Photo from CIDG

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified several persons of interest (POI) in the case of missing beauty pageant contestant from Pampanga Geneva Lopez and her Israeli boyfriend Yitshak Cohen.

In a press conference on Tuesday, July 2, 2024, PNP chief of the Public Information Office (PIO) Colonel Jean Fajardo said they have formed a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to look into the case.

She opted not to reveal the identities of the POIs and how many they were so as not to compromise the investigation.

“But we are pursuing very good leads,” said Fajardo.

Lopez and Cohen were last seen on June 21 before they headed to Barangay Armenia in Tarlac City to scout a property they intended to buy.

Fajardo said police investigators recovered a vehicle believed to be used by the couples’ companions, including a former policeman who served as a middleman.

She said the current owner of the vehicle is already being traced, noting that according to its original owner, as stated in its registration, the car has already been sold.

“It turned out nga based dito sa ginawang background check ng ating PNP na itong si middleman ay dati pong pulis na naka-assign sa Angeles CPS (city police station). So yun direction natin ngayon na tinitingnan at kailangan din natin maimbestigahan kung ito nga bang middleman ay nagsasabi ng totoo dahil nag execute naman siya ng affidavit,” said Fajardo.

(It turned out based on the background check done by our PNP that this middleman was a former police officer assigned to the Angeles CPS (city police station). So that is the direction we are now looking at and we also need to investigate if this middleman is telling the truth because he executed an affidavit.)

The former policeman went on an absence without official leave in February 2020.

The local police earlier found the vehicle used by the couple but it was already set on fire.

They also found gadgets and other personal belongings inside the burned vehicle. Police believe the items belong to the Mutya ng Pilipinas Pampanga 2024 candidate. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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