MANILA – A couple found dead at the parking lot of a community mall in Las Pinas last month was killed after drinking oxalic acid, police said Tuesday.
Police Senior Superintendent Elmer Catabay, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory, said Jose Maria and Juliet Escano died from oxalic acid poisoning based on the toxicology report on the couple’s stomach contents.
He said the police will investigate how and where the couple got the acid that killed them.
Oxalic acid is described as a poisonous, colorless substance that will not be easily determined when dissolved in water or beverages. It can be used as a rust remover, a cleaning agent, in wood working, as stain lifter and as bleaching agent
Oxalic acid was also identified as the poison that killed two people who drank milk tea at a store in Sampaloc, Manila earlier this year.
Las Piñas police earlier denied that a third party was involved in the Escano couple’s deaths, based on available CCTV footage.
Footage obtained by the police showed the victims buying something from a convenience store before parking at the mall past 2 p.m. on July 9. The couple stayed inside their vehicle for three hours.
At around 7:30 p.m., Jose was seen in the video coming out of the vehicle, vomiting and falling to the ground, while Juliet was seated in a reclined position inside the vehicle.
Initial forensic examination done by the Scene of the Crime Operatives revealed the cause of death as shock secondary to digestion (sic) of toxic substance.
In an interview with the police, some of Jose Maria’s co-workers said he gave a hint about his state of mind, when he told them that he and his wife can die now that their children are all grown up.
Authorities noted that the couple parked their vehicle in a dark and secluded area of the parking lot.
They also pointed out that if it was a case of food poisoning from the establishments visited by the victims, there should have been reports of other victims of food poisoning.
An old wound was found near Jose Maria’s left wrist. He also had a wound on his chest, but his clothes were not torn.