Cebu teenager’s slay: Precise mutilation shocks, baffles authorities
CEBU CITY – The gruesome murder of a 16-year-old girl in Lapu Lapu City has baffled and shocked even the most seasoned police officers and crime laboratory experts.
Half of the face of Christine Lee Silawan was not only skinned, exposing her skull, the perpetrators also took some of her internal organs from the neck with precise incisions and cuts, and stabbed her 30 times.
Although she was naked from the waist down, Supt. Benjamin Lara, medico legal office of the Central Visayas Regional Crime Laboratory, said they didn’t find fresh lacerations on the genitalia that might indicate she was raped.
“To be honest, this is the first time I’ve encountered (such a case),” said Lara who had been working in the crime lab for at least 15 years.
During the autopsy, the police were shocked by what they found out.
The girl bore 30 stab wounds – 20 in the body, 9 in both arms and one in the middle of her neck.
Lara said the perpetrators also took out the anterior or front part of her neck and extracted the trachea, tongue, esophagus, right neck muscle and right ear.
He said only her spine was holding her head.
But Lara said swab samples taken from her private parts for laboratory tests in Camp Crame to determine the presence of semen.
But what baffled Lara was how precise the cuts were made.
He pointed out that her face was so cleanly removed that not a single muscle was left on the skull.
“It’s difficult to open the head when we conduct our autopsy and we already have experience in using our knife and other equipment. Still, it is difficult and we are not able to cut this clean that no muscle was left (on the skull). So this was really carefully and meticulously done,” he told the Inquirer.
He dismissed reports that acid may have been poured on the girl’s face, melting her skin and muscles away.
He pointed out that if her face were doused with chemicals like acid, her eyeballs would have been burned like the rest of her skin.
“(But her) eyes were not burned. Her pupils were intact,” he said.
Even the organs on her anterior neck area were expertly removed since the cut was clean, he added.
Christine, a Grade 9 student at Maribago National High School, left the family’s residence in Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City last Sunday to go hear Mass at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish where she was a volunteer church collector.
Her mother, Lourdes, started to worry when her eldest daughter failed to come home hours later.
Lourdes’ sister then went to the police to report that her niece was missing.
The next day, passers-by were shocked to find the body of the young woman dumped on a vacant lot in Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu.
She was naked from the waist down while her face appeared to have been sliced off, exposing her skull.
Her mother identified her through her shirt, watch and bracelet.
In a separate interview, Senior Supt. Limuel Obon, Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LCPO) director, said they were looking at three men as possible suspects.
He described them as armed and dangerous.
Obon, however, declined to divulge additional details, including the motive since they were still conducting a deeper investigation.
“It is just a matter of time before (these suspects) will get arrested. These three men are armed. My instruction to my men is to get them alive as much as possible,” said Obon.
“I hope I can tell everything now like why and who killed Christine but we have to withhold some information so as not to hamper our operations,” he added.
Obon also said that the girl was not a random victim.
He said the perpetrators already had an interest in Silawan and planned the crime.
But he said it was unlikely that the teenager had a relationship with one of the perpetrators.
A group of businessmen offered a P100,000 reward to anyone who has information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects.
Supt. Maria Aurora Rayos, Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) spokesperson, said the bounty was offered by the PAC to speed up the resolution of Christine’s case. / gsg
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