MANILA, Philippines — A suspect in the murder of advertising manager Kristelle “Kae” Davantes had been arrested and placed in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Inquirer learned Friday.
A source from the NBI said the suspect was arrested after two witnesses pointed to him and four others to be behind the killing, which no less than President Aquino had ordered solved.
The government earlier offered a P2.5-million reward for information leading to the perpetrators’ arrest.
“They were bothered by their conscience because they had been seeing the victim’s face in the news. That’s why they decided to come out,” the source said, referring to the witnesses.
One of the witnesses told the NBI that the suspects belonged to an “amateur car robbery group,” according to the source.
Davantes, 24, was found dead under a bridge in Silang, Cavite province, five hours after a nightout with friends, who last saw her driving her car out of a parking lot in Bonifacio Global City at 1:07 a.m. on Sept. 7. Police said she was strangled and stabbed several times in the neck.
The car was found shortly before midnight on Sept. 14 inside Camella Homes Subdivision in Barangay Pamplona 3, Las Piñas City. It was already stripped of its upholstered seats and showed signs of an attempt to burn it from inside.
The NBI declined to give furthers details of the arrest so as not to jeopardize the operation against the four other suspects.
Also on Friday, police said Davantes might have been abducted when she was already near her house, also in Las Piñas.
Chief Supt. Christopher Laxa, head of Task Force Kae Davantes, said investigators had reason to believe “she was intercepted within Moonwalk Village.”
Laxa said security camera footage from the village, recorded in the wee hours of Sept. 7, showed a car that looked like Davantes’ Toyota Altis entering the main gate and then leaving the village 10 minutes later.
The clip showed a sedan entering the gates at 1:41 a.m. then leaving at 1:51 a.m., this time closely followed by another vehicle, Laxa said.
Based on the footage, Laxa said, “we’re not sure if [Davantes] was able to make it to her house, a five-minute drive from the gate.”
Laxa urged Moonwalk residents to come forward if they had witnessed any commotion in the village around that time. The police earlier opened hotlines—0919-5375799 and 0916-4381170—for tips on the Davantes case.
Crime scene investigators examining Davantes’ car had also found traces of blood on the seatbelt, Laxa added.