A man from Colorado was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering his Filipino ex-wife.
On Feb. 21, Dane Kallungi, 39, was found guilty of first-degree murder of his ex-wife, Jepsy Amaga, 26, and for tampering with a deceased human body.
Amaga was reported missing by friends and family in March 2019. To date, police have not been able to locate her alive, nor have her remains been found.
The Colorado Springs Police Department Homicide/Assault Unit launched an investigation into Amaga’s disappearance on April 4, 2019.
Kallungi, who was believed to have killed his wife and buried her body in a remote area of Teller County, fled to New Mexico two years later.
In June 2021, he was arrested in New Mexico and extradited back to Colorado to stand trial for Amaga’s murder.
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In court, prosecutors played a video recording of Kallungi’s interrogation, where he is reportedly heard stating that it was not his intention to kill Amaga.
“I did not mean to kill her, I just wanted her to stop cursing at me,” he reportedly said on tape. “I saw her suffering, I did not know what to do at first … it’s eating me up for sure.”
According to Amaga’s mother Margie, her daughter met Kallungi on an online dating site before moving to Colorado to marry him.
In January 2019, the couple’s divorce was finalized.
Margie said the last day she spoke with her daughter was on March 20, 2019.
“I just want to know if she’s still alive or dead,” Margie previously told 11 News. “I don’t know where she is, why she’s gone.”
While Philippine Honorary Consul in Colorado Donna Lavigne expressed relief regarding the recent verdict, she noted that Amaga’s case is not an isolated one.
“I get a lot of calls from young Filipina women that have issues like domestic violence, something like that and these ladies, or these young women are mostly married to older men here in this state,” Lavigne told ABS-CBN News.
Russcel Recelistino, 27, is another Filipino woman who was allegedly killed by her husband, Joseph Garza, 40, in their home in Fort Lupton, a city about two hours north of where Amaga lived.
Although Garza stood trial for murder earlier this month, the jury was deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial.
The DA’s Office reminded Colorado residents who are experiencing domestic violence not to live in fear.
If you need help there are currently four domestic violence programs in Colorado Springs, three offering a hotline and one offering emergency shelter and hotline. Outside of this city and still nearby, you can also find help at ten domestic violence programs in places like Denver, Ft Collins, Pueblo, Canon City, and Castle Rock.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with domestic violence, please contact the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233. For a list of international helplines, visit www.befriends.org