A homeless Filipina and her dog were found dead in Vallejo, California in April, her brother in the Philippines told GMA News this week.
In a phone interview, Paul Galvez of Balagtas, Bulacan reported that his sister Johanna Galvez-Dilag was found dead on April 22 along with her dog Muggles.
Paul clarified that the name his sister used in the United States was Johanna S. Yalong. "Divorced na po sila ng asawa niya," he said.
According to a report of the US-based news site Mercury News, Johanna and her dog were given a quiet send-off last April 24 by the people who were kind enough to offer her food regularly.
Mercury News said Johanna was found dead along with her dog on April 22, at 1:03 p.m. inside her tent located at a wooded area behind a Vallejo car dealership.
Johanna, 37, was found covered with a blue tarp pulled up to her chin while her dog Muggles was lying near her feet.
Paul said they had been unaware that their sister was homeless in the US as their family thought she was living with their aunt, who allegedly hid Johanna's death from them.
“Please help us. Pamilya po kami ng a woman found dead with her dog in Vallejo, California. Kapatid niya po ako,” said Paul, who last saw his sister in 1993.
"One month na po siyang patay pero nalman lang po namin last Sunday night," he said, adding that they would like to know how they can claim their sister's remains.
He claimed that they were not informed by their aunt, whom he described as a rich woman with several residential and business properties, about Johanna's death.
Paul also claimed that they could not reach their aunt by phone.
A little memorial
Meanwhile, on Mercury News, Maria Guevara said she knew Johanna through "Vallejo Together," a group she founded to help homeless people.
"We held a little memorial for her and we had a moment of silence for her as a soul living on the planet; someone we cared for," Guevara said, adding that they also prayed and recited "The Rainbow Bridge," a poem about deceased pets reuniting with their owners, for Muggles.
Mercury News said Mike Wagner, 35, was one of those who found the dead bodies of Johanna and her dog dead, who were last seen alive on April 20.
Wagner, who has been homeless for about eight years, said Johanna seemed to be new among the homeless people.
He saw her as someone who was "extremely fearful," adding that Johanna "stayed at the Shell gas station for a month, and just stayed there 24/7."
After that, Johanna reportedly built a tent made up of mostly twigs and leaves behind the Vallejo car dealership where her remains and that of her dog were eventually found.
No foul play
Meanwhile, Mercury News quoted Sgt. Jeff Bassett, spokesman of the Vallejo Police Department, as saying there were no signs of foul play or suicide at the scene.
However, the case is still under the investigation of the Solano Country Coroner’s Office.
A woman from the coroner's office said Johanna's cause of death will be known after some tests are conducted.
Wagner also believed there was no foul play, saying "I think the girl wasn't eating. She'd gotten thrown out of Safeway for stealing food, and after that, she never left her tent, it seemed like to me.”
Owner of a skin care company?
Mercury News said Guevara and Wagner believed that Johanna once owned a nail shop and was president of a skin care company.
A woman who identified herself only as “Gigi” said she once worked with Johanna.
She was a very kind person, intelligent, a smart lady. I'm very sad to hear this. She was a good person," Gigi said. - VVP, GMA News