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Probe sought on death of US filmmaker

By Ben Rosario

A solon yesterday called for a police investigation into the mysterious death of an American filmmaker whose suicide inside a National Bureau of Investigation detention cell in Cebu had been questioned by a private forensic pathologist who examined his remains.

Cebu Rep. Raul Del Mar issued the appeal after learning that the family of Jesse Phinney, 42, an American cinematographer and a Boston native, has contested the NBI claim that the filmmaker hanged himself inside the comfort room of his detention cell on December 5, 2017.

“Police investigation is absolutely necessary,” del Mar said in a text message with the Bulletin/Tempo.

Dr. Elizabeth Laposata, an American pathologist reportedly commissioned by Phinney’s family, disclosed that in her autopsy of the remains, she concluded that PHinney suffered “blunt-force trauma” and that his body showed markings that do not conform to the official NBI findings that ruled suicide as the cause of death.

Phinney was found dead four hours after he was arrested by NBI operatives for suspicion of human trafficking and violation of the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

Laposata’s autopsy findings bolstered suspicions earlier aired by Phinney’s family that he was a victim of foul play.

According to reports Phinney’s body showed “deep bruises” that was apparently inflicted on him two or four hours before he died. Also noted was a suspicious mark on his neck.

Prior to his death, Phinney was scheduled to be taken to the prosecutor for inquest.

He was arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Jacinto Fajardo of the Regional Trial Court of Talisay City.