Three days after he was snatched away in Quezon City, a one-year-old boy was returned Friday morning to his parents by a Parañaque City couple who said the child had been “sold” to them by a man for P1,200.
But while a family in Quezon City was rejoicing, another made a shocking discovery in Pililla, Rizal province, where the decomposing body of a 4-year-old boy was found in a ravine more than two weeks after he disappeared. Police initially suspect that he accidentally fell to his death, but have not ruled out foul play.
The closing week saw two more families reporting the disappearance of young children in Taguig City.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) on Friday said spouses Lovelio and Winnifer Mendoza were reunited with their child at a fast-food restaurant on Roosevelt, San Francisco del Monte.
QCPD-Masambong station chief Supt. Pedro Sanchez said that, according to the Mendozas, they got their child back from another couple from Baclaran, Parañaque City.
The Parañaque couple started sending text messages to the Mendozas Thursday night to arrange a meeting. But the Mendozas initially ignored them, thinking they were again sent by pranksters who had been pestering them since they made their phone numbers public through the media, Sanchez said.
In the meeting, the couple who returned the baby withheld their full identities—the woman introduced herself only as “Nanette”—and did not ask for money. They said a man claiming to be the boy’s father showed up at their door Tuesday night, offering to sell the child.
“The man (suspect) said the boy was his son and that he could no longer take care of him so he was leaving the boy with them. He said he needed money to return to his hometown in Pangasinan province,” Sanchez told the Inquirer.
The man asked for P5,000 but eventually settled for P1,200. Saying he would return for the child later and give the money back, he even left his photo with the name “Dennis Nabua” written on it.
The Parañaque couple later learned from news reports and social networking sites that the child in their hands was a victim of an abduction. They then started contacting the Mendozas.
Sanchez said a security camera caught a man in the act of taking the child around 10 a.m. Tuesday at a store along Sto. Niño Street in Barangay San Antonio, where his mother Winnifer briefly left him unattended as she was buying cell phone load.
Late Thursday, villagers in Pililla, Rizal province, found the dismembered remains of Mark Elgin Escarmosa, 4, in a ravine in Villa Quintana, Barangay Malaya.
They were drawn to the spot after they noticed a dog gnawing on what turned out to be a human leg.
Chief Insp. Resty Soriano of the Pililla police said the boy may have fallen into the ravine which is near a subdivision and an open area where local children like to fly kites.
The boy was in the care of his grandfather when he went missing on March 19.