Police nab suspect in rape-slay of teen in Digos
DIGOS CITY – Police Saturday announced the arrest of a 32-year old man here, just a few hours after the body of the 14-year old girl missing since Thursday was found on an abandoned animal farm in Barangay Tiguman.
Senior Insp. Gil Arobo, the chief investigator of the Digos City Police Station, said Victor Malanog, single, also a resident of Barangay Tiguman, was arrested based on witnesses’ account and a shirt found near the body of Brindalyn Batuto.
Brindalyn failed to come home from the Matti High School Annex in Barangay Matti, a village adjacent to Tiguman, after classes on Thursday.
Her relatives found her decomposing body on the grassy and secluded area of the abandoned animal farm, still in her school uniform, around 7:30 a.m. on Saturday after they retraced her usual path from school.
Rolly Batuto, the victim’s uncle, said, aside from a polo shirt, Brindalyn’s underwear was also found hanging on the bushes – just a few meters from where her body was discovered.
Investigators from the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) said it was likely that the girl had been raped before being killed.
Arobo said Malanog’s neighbors were positive that the suspect owned the shirt.
Malanog initially denied owning the shirt but later changed his story, saying he indeed owned it but already threw it away.
Arobo said at least two witnesses had told police they saw Malanog on Thursday evening, hurriedly leaving the area where Brindalyn’s body was later found.
“We already have strong evidence against the suspect that could pass the stiff requirements of the prosecution,” Arobo said.
He said Malanog was now being detained at the Digos City Police Station as a complaint for rape with homicide was being prepared.
“The crime that will be charged against him is punishable with reclusion perpetua so we can detain him for 72 hours,” Arobo said. “We would not be accused of arbitrary detention.” /atm
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