Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, October 06, 2008

American mountain climber found dead in forest

Authorities on Friday found the body of an American mountain climber in the state of decomposition near a dead creek in the mountain area of San Pablo, Dinalupihan town.

P/Insp. Ferdinand Aguilar, Dinalupihan police chief, reported to Senior Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, Bataan police director, that the body of Jon R. Wenham, 69, of Hawaii, was finally retrieved and brought to the Ventura Funeral Parlor in Dinalupihan late Friday afternoon.

The police chief said he immediately sent investigators to the mountain area to help searchers recover the body.

Norma Wenham said her husband left their residence in Olongapo City towards the mountains at 10:00 in the morning of September 14 “to look for and thank a family residing at a yellow house in the middle of an unknown forested area.”

The woman said Wenham also went mountain trekking last January and went back home after a week. The husband told his wife that a family allegedly living in a yellow house took care of him.

She said that from then on, her husband would set for the forests in the desire to return to the house somewhere in the heart of the mountains. She said that Wenham was even planning to bring her there to thank the family.

The wife said that on September 14, she persuaded her husband not to proceed and asked him to postpone the mountain hiking the next day so her nephew could accompany him.

“But he insisted and said that he would return in six hours,” she said. The woman narrated that she was accustomed to having her husband out in the mountains in Olongapo City and Dinalupihan and even in Hawaii for three days to one week.

“Hindi ako nag-aalala sapagka’t sanay na siya at halos nalibot na niya ang lugal at magaling na siyang mag-Tagalog at maging Kapampangan at Ilokano,” the wife said.

Initial autopsy report showed that the American slipped and his head hit a rock.

“Dislocated cervical vertebra 1-4, lacerations on back, chest, arm and right groins,” police information officer Insp. Dennis Orbista quoted the report.

It took searchers and police many hours to bring the body down because the area is more than three kilometers of hiking via mountain trails from San Pablo.

Edgardo del Rosario, one of the searchers, said the first to be retrieved were the helmet, polo shirt and pants of the American. The body was later found 30-50 meters away from the helmet.

“Nakasabit sa isang sanga ng punong-kahoy ang polo shirt na marahil sadyang inilagay ng biktima doon upang magsilbing giya sa mga hahanap sa kanya,” del Rosario who is a nephew of the wife of the foreigner said.

He said that the right arm of the victim was almost detached from the body and what remained of the head was the skull.

The victim left his wife, two children already both more than 40 years old who are staying in Hawaii. Wenham retired from the United States Navy after serving it for five years. The wife said her husband was interested in real estate and selling houses in the Philippines.

Going back and forth Hawaii and the Philippines, the Wenham couple stayed at Pinagpala St., New Cabalan, Olongapo City. (By Ernie B. Esconde-PNA)

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  • feel very so sorry for mama norma for what happened to papa john.. i know how she really love papa john.. see you there in cabalan... love zenaida aguila and family

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/28/2008 12:55 PM  

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