HAPPY TIMES. This photo of a smiling Kian Shannon Sophie Cañares, 21, is displayed on top of her coffin in the wake now being held at her aunt’s home, which is adjacent to her family’s home in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City.
CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZAWhat made this young lady decide to take her life in front of her two-year-old daughter is a matter that her grief-stricken family still has to grapple with.
For authorities, however, of deeper concern was that the woman, only 21 years old, live-streamed a video of her suicide on Facebook Live, prompting the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to open an investigation into the incident.
Senior Supt. Joel Doria, director of the CCPO, said the family of Kian Shannon Sophie Cañares did not immediately report the incident to the police, but investigators saw the need to step in and dig deeper into the case.
“We hope her parents will cooperate with us (even as) they early on appealed for privacy over the matter,” he told Cebu Daily News.
There have been several incidents in the U.S. and Europe about young persons committing suicide on Facebook Live but this was, so far, the first case in Cebu where a victim went on a social media platform to record the moment she took her life, Doria noted.
Past 9 p.m. last July 3, Cañares took a live Facebook video of herself while she hanged herself at her family’s living room in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City.
Two of her cousins, who saw the video on Facebook, rushed to Cañares’ house and saw the woman hanging from the ceiling of the house with an extension wire looped around her neck.
Upon hearing the commotion, Cañares’ father Melencio went out of the master’s bedroom and discovered the lifeless body of his daughter.
Near Cañares was her two-year-old daughter who was crying while looking at her mother.
In taking the live video, Cañares used her cellular phone which she placed on a wooden bench—about a meter from where she hanged herself.
The family immediately took down the suicide video and did not inform the police about the incident until it was reported in a local radio station, which received an information from a concerned citizen last Tuesday.
Doria said the investigation was aimed at identifying what prompted Cañares to end her life.
“Basically, what we hope to achieve in our investigation is to determine what led her to commit suicide. It really puzzles us what went wrong and what her problems were,” he said.
Doria said he instructed the investigators to talk to Cañares’ friends, classmates, and immediate family.
“What we have here is a pure suicide case. There is no foul play involved especially that what she did was broadcasted live on Facebook. I hope her family will cooperate in the investigation so that we will know what were her reasons in ending her life,” he said.
Melencio, reached by phone yesterday, said his daughter Kian, the youngest of three siblings, previously tried to commit suicide twice but they were able to stop her.
But recently, he said he did not notice anything wrong with his daughter.
“Kon naa gud na siyay problema, ilo-om lo-om ra na niya. (If she has a problem, she usually kept it to herself),” Melencio told CDN on Wednesday.
Melencio, an employee of the Metro Cebu Water District, said he and his wife were already asleep at that time and were just awaken by the commotion made by Kian’s cousins.
According to Melencio, his wife was still in shock and heart broken by the incident.
Kian, a first year psychology student of the University of San Carlos, has a two-year-old daughter from a failed relationship.
Melencio said his daughter first tried to jump from the second floor of her aunt’s house when she was in fourth year high school, and attempted to hang herself last year.
The same aunt also died after hanging herself years ago, Melencio said.
“Wala man g’yud mi nakakita og signs nga naa siyay problema. Gani, nagkatawa-katawa ra man na siya sa adlaw nga wala pa siya naghikog. (We did not see any signs that she had problems. In fact, she was laughing a day before she committed suicide),” Melencio said.
Days ago, however, Melencio said his daughter mentioned to him about a vision of a man with horns.
“Naa lagi kuno siyay nakita nga naay sungay. (She told me she saw a man with horns),” he said.
Doria said police investigators are conducting a probe on Cañares’ death to find out what went wrong.
“I am sending investigators to their house to get facts about the case,” he said.
A cry for help?
Cañares might have wanted the world to know she was a “victim,” the reason why she decided to commit suicide live on Facebook.
Maryjun Delgado, a veteran psychologist in Cebu, said Cañares must have encountered a horrible or traumatic experience.
“At her age, she might have been confused. She felt empty, unwanted, and found no value in herself. There might be a feeling in her that she was a victim, and so she wants everyone to know about it,” she told CDN over the phone.
“She was seeking attention, and wants people to understand her. She was hoping there are people who would pity her,” she added.
But no matter how heavy the problem a person faced, Delgado stressed that suicide should never be an option.
“What she did was very wrong. It was not good, and is never acceptable whatever the circumstances may be. Suicide should not even be in the equation,” she said.
Delgado, also a psychology professor of the University of San Jose-Recoletos, advised people, especially teenagers and young adults, not to keep problems to themselves and to instead talk to other people about it to lighten the burden.
“Be strong. Control yourself and your fears. Go out and tell your family, friends, teachers, and others about your problems. Do not be afraid to share your struggles to them,” she said.
“Above all, you pray for enlightenment. Remember that life is precious and no matter what situation you are in, life is still worth living,” she added.
Depression, a medical condition
Msgr. Joseph Tan, media liaison officer of the Archdiocese of Cebu, called on the people to be on guard against depression.
“Many of us, Filipinos, are not even sensitive about depression. In reality though, it has affected teenagers and young adults. Oftentimes, we think depression is just based on problems, but we don’t see it as medical condition that needs medical intervention more than just counseling,” he said.
Tan said anyone hounded by depression should see a doctor or a psychologist for proper intervention.
“Depression is a serious threat to this age group (21 years old and below). Before things go from bad to worse, intervention should be done. Mental health is just as important as physical health,” he said.
Moreover, Tan called on the people to pray for Cañares and her family.
“I’m sure it’s hard to accept what happened. She was still 21 and did not have any illness, and yet she ended her life. Let us pray for her and her family,” he said.