Suspect in student’s slay found dead
CEBU CITY—After a dead man was found with bullet wounds in the head on an islet in nearby Bohol province on Tuesday, police announced that the case of Karen Kaye Montebon, a 17-year-old student who was killed inside her home a week ago, was closed.
Senior Supt. Armando Radoc, police chief of Lapu-Lapu City, said he was certain that the man, identified as Ruben Fernandez, was the lone killer of Montebon and was not a fall guy, though the circumstances behind his death remained mysterious.
Most of the items owned by the victim and her family had been recovered by lawmen, said Radoc, who served as commander of the Special Investigation Task Group Montebon. These included Montebon’s DSLR camera, which was pawned for P5,000, necklace, a pair of earrings, a Play Station portable and a pair of slippers that the man was still wearing.
The items were found in Fernandez’s possession on Nasingin Islet in Getafe town in Bohol. Montebon’s iPad remained missing.
Police said Fernandez was a drug user who had been imprisoned thrice for theft and robbery cases. He was released from the Lapu-Lapu City Jail in September 2014 after a
Fernandez’s live-in partner, Jenalyn Soon, confirmed that the pair of slippers left in Montebon’s house was owned by the suspect.
“Whoever claims that Fernandez was a fall guy, tell them that is a very lousy accusation because we have all the evidence [to prove otherwise],” Radoc said in an interview after a conference attended by all members of the task group, headed by Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, regional police directorial staff chief, the parents of Montebon and the witnesses, including Soon.
Soon was picked up by policemen on Monday from her house in Olango Island in Lapu-Lapu after her sister, who is based in Hawaii, asked for police assistance.
Radoc said Soon told investigators what she knew about the incident but she hesitated to tell all. He said it took some time before she admitted that Fernandez went inside the Montebon family’s house on Sept. 15.
An emotional confrontation happened between Soon and Montebon’s mother, Emelinda.
“Giunsa ninyo akong anak? Mga hayop mo! Inyong kinabuhi kuwang pa’s kinabuhi sa akong anak (What did you do to my daughter? Stupid! Your lives are not enough to pay for the life of my daughter),” Emelinda said.
Soon told her that she had nothing to do with the crime. Eventually, she apologized to Montebon’s family for bringing her live-in partner to their house.
She told investigators that she and Fernandez went to the house on a motorcycle to inquire if her Hawaii-based sister had sent money for her family. Soon said Montebon later asked her to let Fernandez enter the house.
The couple later left, but Soon said Fernandez dropped her somewhere in Sitio Mahayahay in Barangay Bangkal because the motorcycle supposedly ran out of fuel and he needed to fill the tank. Soon said she did not know that Fernandez returned to the house.
Radoc said Emelinda no longer responded to Soon’s apology.
He said Soon had been cleared of any participation in the crime and would be released from police custody late Wednesday.
Insp. Marcelino Mejias, police chief of Getafe town in Bohol, said they have started the process to establish who killed Fernandez.
Mejias said the circumstances behind Fernandez’s death have puzzled them. The identity of his killer or killers remained a mystery, he added.
“Residents claimed they didn’t see anyone because they all hid when they heard bursts of gunfire,” he said.
He confirmed reports that no gun was found near Fernandez’s body. Investigators, however, found two empty shells from a .45-cal. pistol in the crime scene.
Fernandez had been hiding in the house of his sister, Joveline or Ibyang, on Nasingin islet since Sept. 16. But Ibyang, who said she was not aware of the crime involving her brother, was not in her house when Fernandez was killed.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.