Here is an update from last month’s S&S article about the Navy Master Chief Petty Officer who tried to murder his family”
U.S. Navy investigators and Philippines police have reopened a criminal investigation into the murder of a Filipino taxi driver whose death may have been linked to an American sailor’s failed plot to kill his wife and family, authorities confirmed Tuesday.
The new investigation follows revelations about the twisted case of Master Chief Petty Officer John W. Bench published by Stars and Stripes last month in which the newspaper detailed allegations that Bench twice arranged to have his wife killed during visits to the Philippines, with the apparent knowledge and possible assistance of a Filipina mistress.
Bench, 39, who was assigned to the USS Denver, killed his 12-year-old son and assaulted his wife and daughter Aug. 30 at their home on Sasebo Naval Base, Japan. He died a few hours later in a motorcycle crash after fleeing the house.
Police in the Philippines confirmed Tuesday that they had questioned Bench’s mistress, Lilibeth Eniceo, in Antipolo City about the death of the taxi driver, Peter Turiano, who was slain April 6 while driving the Bench family on a tour. An unknown gunman forced his way into the taxi but fled after killing Turiano, authorities said. Eniceo told Stars and Stripes that Bench had hired the hit man to kill his wife during the Easter holiday tour.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service arrived in Manila last week to work on the case, said Ruby Ramores, Turiano’s sister.
Philippines police also confirmed the presence of Navy investigators.
“My investigative department is now working hand in hand with NCIS,” said Col. Dioscoro Maata, the city police superintendent.
NCIS officials refused comment about the Bench case on Tuesday. Last week, the commanding officers of the base and the USS Denver also declined comment, citing an ongoing investigation.
Eniceo said Bench discussed his plan to murder his wife during the April tour and he funneled money through her to pay hired killers during a prior murder attempt in February.
Now that Bench is dead, Eniceo appears to be a key link between the sailor and Turiano’s killer. [Stars & Stripes]
This really isn’t surprising considering that it seems far fetched that she knew nothing about the murder for hire plot when Bench was funneling money through her to eventually pay off the hitman. Plus it is unlikely that Bench would be able to find a hitman on his own in the Philippines without a local go between to help him out.