MANILA Police investigators are now closely pursuing a lead on a person-of-interest in the brutal killing of a 16-year-old girl in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, a Philippine National Police (PNP) official said on Friday.
PNP spokesperson, Police Col. Bernard Banac, said the investigators have identified at least one person of interest based on the text messages found in a mobile phone used by victim Christine Lee Silawan.
The Police Regional Police Office-7 has the information. We got word that a cellphone from a relative of the victim was recovered. They are looking into it and there are conservations in the phone. This is why we already have a lead and a suspect based on statements that we obtained, Banac told reporters in press briefing.
Banac, however, refused to provide additional details on the messages as a special investigation task group's (SITG) probe on the case is still ongoing.
He added that the SITG has yet to determine the motive of the killing.
We are determining whether the culprit is a psychological maniac or a drug dependent. This is not a work of a normal person," Banac said in Filipino.
Banac also clarified that photo of the suspect in the crime, identified as Jonas Bueno published in a newspaper, did not come from the SITG.
"Right now, the SITG has only information. The hunt is on for the suspect. Nobody is in their custody. We do not want to lose track of the investigation, Banac said.
Banac said based on the autopsy examination, there was no indication that the victim was raped before she was killed.
Earlier, Lapu-Lapu City Police Office director, Col. Limuel Obon, vowed to leave no stone unturned in investigating the case.
Obon said a tracking team was sent to arrest one of the three suspects within the week.
If we arrest one primary suspect, we will be able to arrest all (of them), he said.
He said the suspect is no longer in Lapu-Lapu City but is still in the province.
He, however, assured that even if the suspect manages to go outside Cebu province, a team from the Police Regional Office 7 (Central Visayas) is ready to track him down.
Obon said the Lapu-Lapu police is determined to finish the investigation as soon as possible, despite the absence of an ultimatum from Camp Crame.
On Monday morning, Silayan was found dead in a vacant lot in Barangay Bankal, Lapu-Lapu City with her face skinned to the skull, her body with 20 stab wounds and 10 defense wounds, and her tongue, trachea, and esophagus removed. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency