Efforts to secure evidence for rape from the remains of flight attendant Christina Dacera are "too late," a forensic pathologist said Wednesday as the family of the deceased 23-year-old called for a repeat autopsy.
Forensic Pathologist Raquel Fortun said swabbing the body for evidence of sexual assault is unlikely to yield useful evidence given that the body had been embalmed.
"It's been six days after death. The body had already been embalmed and autopsied. If you're going to reexamine the body to collect in hindsight materials like these, it's late in the day," Fortun said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
"What can you still get? You might have already washed [the body], so you might have lost material there and then there's the possibility of contamination--anything that the body is exposed to, potentially could contaminate it," she added.
Dacera, a 23-year-old flight attendant, was found dead in the bathtub of her Makati City hotel room on the morning of Jan. 1 after a night of partying with close friends.
MORE ON DACERA'S CASE:
While the first post-mortem from the police said Dacera died from an aneurysm or a swollen vein, the Dacera family, according to their lawyer Brick Reyes, believe that she was drugged and raped.
Ideally, autopsies done in search of evidence of sexual assault should be done "as soon as possible," or within 72 hours, Fortun said noting that Dacera's body should have been examined for such pieces of evidence.
If the goal of the initial autopsy was to prove sexual assault, Fortun said pathologists should have swabbed orifices such as the mouth, vagina, anus as well as surfaces such as the breast
"Swabbing-wise, to me, it's too late," Fortun said.
A more detailed autopsy on Dacera's remains is expected next week according to lawyer Reyes.