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Sep 20, 2022

Phillip Palma Search Team Leader Says Authorities Refused to Assist in Island Search

According to Jose Espat, the leader of the Palma family search team, they were refused assistance from the local authorities because police officers had reportedly conducted a search on the island the day before. Espat asserts that he made several observations on the island, including the discovery of footprints belonging to persons that were walking the island barefoot and the  locks on four cabins broken, while a fifth cabin remained locked. He believes that all these information could assist police in their investigation. Furthermore, Espat claims that Scenes of Crime technicians arrived two hours after being informed of the body being found. He says that he even went live on social media to get the attention of the public, before getting any response from police.


Jose Espat

Jose Espat, Search Team Leader

“I was called by one of the family members because they had found some stuff. I brief them off as to what to look for prior to spreading out and breaking in groups. So, they had found some stuff that was extremely crucial to the case. So, I processed it because I had no clue if they were going to send any scenes of crime what was going to happen. So, I did the procedure the proper way so as not to contaminate any evidence. So, I processed it and bagged it. There were several items which I will not disclose what they are but I can tell you that they are crucial pieces of evidence in tying a possible motive to the murder of Mr Palma.”


Paul Lopez

“Is it possible that that evidence is drug related?”


Jose Espat

“It is very possible. I cannot tell you yes or no, but it is possible.”


Jose Espat

“After we unearthed the body it was clear to me what had transpired or possibly transpired because he also had parts of his phalanges missing. He had slits as the ones he had seen.  So to me he possibly was tortured. So, they were either looking for something or someone or some sort of information from him and they wanted to get it out of him and he probably didn’t want to talk so they tortured him. There was also what appeared to be an entry and exit gunshot orifice. Body fluids were coming out as well, so it was very recent.”

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