Philippines: Australian couple allegedly murdered inside hotel room identified

Caleb Runciman
The Nightly
An Australian couple were found dead inside a Philippines hotel room. David Fisk and Lucita Cortez were tied up and killed on their holiday.

Filipino police have identified two Australians they say were tied up and murdered at a resort south of Manila.

The bodies of David James Fisk, 57, and his Philippine-born partner Lucita Barquin Cortez, 55, were found with that of Filipina woman Mary Jane Cortez, 30, in their room after they didn’t check out on Wednesday.

An employee found the three bodies with their hands and feet tied with electrical tape and shoelaces.

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Cavite Police were called to the Lake Hotel resort at 1.35pm on Wednesday and are treating the deaths as a “murder incident”.

“The initial investigation revealed that a hotel staff discovered the lifeless bodies of an Australian couple and a female Filipina companion in one of the rooms,” police said in a statement.

“The victims were found with their hands and feet bound, and packaging tapes covering their mouths.”

“The victims were identified as ‘David’, 57 years old, Australian citizen, ‘Lucita’ 55 years old, Australian citizen, and alias ‘Mary’ 30 years old, a Filipina.”

The 30-year-old is believed to Ms Cortez’s daughter-in-law.

Police are arranging an “in-depth investigation” into the incident and urge the public to come forward with any additional information.

“(A) continuous in-depth investigation (is) still in effect to gather additional information and the motive behind the crime, as well as close communication with the family of the victims.”

It is reported a man potentially linked to their deaths was captured on CCTV entering the hotel on Wednesday morning.

“CCTV footage showed a male suspect in a black hoodie, maroon shorts, and sneakers, with a knapsack leaving the room of the victims and heading towards the exit of the hotel,” the media outlet said.

A Filipino relative of Lucita Cortez told the Associated Press the couple flew from Sydney to Bali, before visiting the Philippines so Ms Cortez could see two children from a previous marriage. Mr Fisk is believed to have two daughters of his own.

The couple were due to fly back to Sydney on Wednesday.

All three of the victims were remembered as “beautiful souls” in a heartbreaking social media tribute posted on Thursday.

Mary Jane Cortez
Mary Jane Cortez Credit: Facebook/Supplied

It is reported the suspect, who police are still working to identify, was seen by a security guard with a hotel key card.

Their cause of death remains unknown.

Tagaytay mayor Abraham Tolentino told AP the community was “shocked” by their deaths.

“We’re very sorry to our Australian friends,” he said. “We will resolve this as soon as possible.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance.

A DFAT spokesman said they would not provide further details due to the department’s privacy obligations.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the families of two Australians who have died in the Philippines,” he said.

“We send our condolences to the families at this difficult time.”

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