MANILA, Philippines (AP) – A man who has spent 25 years on the FBI’s most wanted list said Thursday he’s ready to face charges in the slaying of a pregnant Seattle woman.

Robert Saquil Besabe said he does not remember much of what happened in Seattle on Aug. 16, 1982, claiming he was on drugs the night Carolyn Montoya was shot.

“I’m sorry for what happened,” Besabe said in an interview at the Immigration Bureau’s detention center, without saying whether he killed Montoya.

“I want to go back to face the charges and to clear my name,” he said. “I’m getting old.”

Philippine-born Besabe, now 51, added that in time, he would like to talk with Montoya’s family and apologize.

Dressed in a white V-necked T-shirt and clutching a small cell phone, the unmarried father of three said he hoped to see his children in the U.S. for the first time since the slaying.

The break in the cold case came when Besabe walked into the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Sept. 13 to seek a new U.S. passport, saying his old one – which expired three years after the slaying – had been lost or stolen, embassy Legal Attache Stephen Cutler said in a letter to the head of the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation.

On Monday, Besabe was arrested at his girlfriend’s house in Dasmarinas town, 30 miles south of the capital, Manila, the Immigration Bureau added.

Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan has ordered him extradited to the U.S., where he will face charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and flight to avoid prosecution.

It was unclear how long the process would take, but Besabe said he was thinking of seeking voluntary deportation, which would make his return to the U.S. quicker.

Besabe said his life here has not been easy, nor happy. He has no family remaining in the Philippines and has had to rely on the help of friends, including one who hired him as a driver.

“My life is ruined. The damage has been done,” Besabe said in a near-whisper between long pauses.

According to court records and newspaper reports at the time, Besabe had just broken up with Montoya’s friend, Eleanor Velasco – also identified in U.S. Embassy documents by the last name Volasco. Montoya, a model who was six months pregnant, was giving her friend a ride home when they stopped to give Besabe a ride.

A U.S. Embassy extradition request says Besabe pulled a gun, told Montoya to stop the car, shot her in the head and fired once at Velasco but missed her.

Doctors delivered Montoya’s son by Caesarean section, but he died two days later. Montoya, whom the Seattle Times said Besabe blamed for breaking up his relationship with Velasco, lingered in a coma for a month before dying.

The investigation dried up after Besabe vanished.

AP-ES-11-22-07 1541EST


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