Carolina Montoya's family spent weeks at her hospital bedside, praying she would awaken from a coma after she was shot in the head. Her father, Moises Montoya...

Share story

Carolina Montoya’s family spent weeks at her hospital bedside, praying she would awaken from a coma after she was shot in the head.

Her father, Moises Montoya, would hold her hand and murmur, “Carol, do you hear me?”

Carolina Montoya, 24, would never recover from the gunshot and died Sept. 23, 1982, about a month after she was gunned down in White Center. The baby boy she was carrying also died after he was delivered by emergency Caesarean section two days after the shooting.

The man who police say was responsible for killing Montoya and firing at her friend was arrested last month in the Philippines and is expected to be extradited to Seattle, where he will be tried for murder.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Robert Besabe was arrested in the Philippines last month, and deportation proceedings began this week, according to The Manila Times. He was caught after trying to apply for a replacement passport at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Besabe, 48, disappeared after the killing of Montoya, a model who was about 10 weeks from delivering her son.

In the days after his daughter’s death, Moises Montoya voiced disappointment in law enforcement for not finding Besabe.

“What I want is justice, I just want justice,” Moises Montoya said in a 1982 interview with The Seattle Times. “If I only knew the place where he is, I’m willing to give up my life to get him.”

Moises Montoya died in October 1988 in Seattle. His wife, Maria, has since moved to the Philippines, a man who answered the phone at her house said Tuesday.

Carolina Montoya was driving Eleanor Velasco home from work Aug. 16, 1982, when they stopped to give Besabe, Velasco’s ex-boyfriend, a ride, court charging papers said. Shortly after getting into the car, Besabe demanded that Montoya stop the car and shot her once in the head. He fired once at Velasco but missed, court papers said.

He fled before he could be arrested.

Authorities believed Besabe blamed Montoya for breaking up his and Velasco’s relationship.

In 1982, King County prosecutors charged Besabe with first-degree murder in Montoya’s death and second-degree murder in the death of her son. In July 1984, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle charged him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, according to the FBI.

Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, said he didn’t know how long it would take to bring Besabe back to the United States.

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.