Cops hunt down suspect in killing of Cebu student
CEBU CITY—Was Karen Kaye Montebon killed because of a personal grudge?
Policemen looking into the death of the 17-year-old Accountancy student on Tuesday have received reports that she had earlier fought with someone before her body was found by her father at their home in Lapu-Lapu City, said Senior Supt. Armando Radoc, Lapu-Lapu police chief.
“We already have a suspect. A team is already conducting a pursuit [operation],” Radoc told a news conference on Thursday. He didn’t say if the person was the one whom the victim had a fight with.
Montebon, a freshman student of University of San Carlos (USC) here, was found dead by her father, James, inside her room at their home in Corinthians Subdivision in Sitio Suba-Masulog, Barangay Basak, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. She bore bruises and a cord of a hair straightener was tied around her neck.
Physicians at Mactan Doctors’ Hospital confirmed that she was strangled and had a laceration in her private parts.
Police could not say with finality that the victim was raped because the laceration was very small and found at the outer part of her sex organ, Radoc said. He said a physician would be asked to reassess if it could have been inflicted during a scuffle.
The officer has formed a special team to hunt down the suspect. While he declined to identify the suspect or say if the person was a man or a woman, he admitted that the police action was based on a tip sent as a text message. He described the information as revealing.
Radoc said the suspect was not a resident of the subdivision.
Earlier, police claimed that witnesses saw a man and a woman on a motorcycle in front of Montebon’s house around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, about the time the crime was committed. The man was wearing a crash helmet and stayed on the motorcycle while his female companion knocked on the door of the house, they said.
The Lapu-Lapu City government offered a cash reward of P500,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.
Mayor Paz Radaza said she was confident that the reward offer would be approved by the city council immediately. She assured the Montebon family that justice would be served.
On Thursday, students from the two campuses of USC, one of the biggest universities in Cebu province, held simultaneous prayer vigils for Montebon from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Khen Aquino, vice president of USC Supreme Student Council, said one prayer vigil was held at the Wrocklage Yard of the main campus in downtown Cebu City. The other took place at a basketball court on the Talamban campus in Barangay Talamban here.
Niel Steve Kintanar, head of the Office of Student Affairs, and Fr. Anthony Salas, USC vice president for Academic Affairs, issued a memorandum asking the students to attend the prayer vigils in sympathy for the families of Montebon and other victims of senseless killings, Aquino said.
Most of the students also wore black shirts in solidarity with the family, relatives and friends of Montebon.
Aquino said the school and the students were pleading to authorities to solve the murder.
In a letter addressed to all USC college students on Wednesday, Kintanar asked the students to wear black on Thursday and Friday.
“The Carolinian community is shocked and saddened by the news of what happened to our student—Karen Kaye Montebon. We condemn this heartless act of killing and we hope that justice be served,” he said.
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