Witness: No signs Mary hanged herself; appeared to have been strangled

Marvin S. Y. Vargas exits the Criminal Court after a hearing. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shathiu Abdulla)

A paramedic nurse from the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) who was the first to attend to Filipino nurse Mary Grace Oned Pineda, who was found dead in her home last year, told the court on Tuesday that she showed no signs of hanging, but did show signs she was strangled.

Mary was killed in her apartment on the first floor of Ma. Udhuheykokaage in Male’ City in the afternoon of October 19, 2021.

Her husband, Marvin S. Y. Vargas is charged with murder with intent, while his mistress, Haleemath Lamha Abdul Rahman is charged as an accomplice.

All three had worked as nurses at IGMH’s ER.

The Criminal Court heard testimony from the first nurse who attended to Mary on Tuesday.

The nurse told the court that she had been assigned as a paramedic on the hospital’s ambulance the day of the murder. She said that Marvin called the ambulance hotline number at around 12:30 pm and asked for help, saying his wife had hanged herself.

 The nurse said she found Marvin administering CPR as Mary lay on the ground. She said that Marvin did not respond when she asked how Mary hanged herself, and she did not ask any further questions but got busy trying to save Mary’s life.

“Her face and neck were a purplish blue. Her pupils were dilated. Medically speaking, that was the point when death is declared. But we continued CPR. She did not have a pulse,” said the nurse.

Responding to questions from Marvin’s attorney, the nurse said she did not find any signs Mary hanged herself, but did finds signs she was strangled.

“There were no signs she hanged with something,” she said.

Mary Grace worked as a nurse at IGMH. (Photo/Facebook/Mary Grace)

She said that though she did not conduct a thorough examination while paramedics were attending to Mary, she did examine her body after she was taken to the ER.

“I noticed prints from two fingers,” she said.

Responding to questions from Marvin’s attorney regarding the prints, the nurse said they weren’t from a doctor during treatment.

“Based on what I learnt about forensics, they were forensic evidence of strangling. Signs that someone strangled her with their left hand,” she said.


The state previously told the court that injection packing was found from the room where Mary was found dead.

The nurse said the paramedics had administered an injection on Mary, and forgot to take the packing with them when they left.

“We left it there. We were in a rush to get the patient out. We remembered about it only after we were in the ambulance,” she said.

Haleemath Lamha Abdul Rahman exits the Criminal Court after a hearing. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shathiu Abdulla)

The nurse said they did not leave anything else behind.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the court made its decision regarding a motion for Lamha’s release. Judge Hussain Faiz Rashad said the court needed to take testimony of some 50 more witnesses, and that the grounds for Lamha’s detention remained valid.