Woman, 19, was possibly tortured before she was killed and stuffed in box – PRO-7 exec
Father of victim, who is in Davao, says he did not know daughter was in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Police believed that the 19-year-old woman, who was found dead and tied up inside a box, in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, was tortured before being thrown out by the side of the road.
The victim was identified by Police Major Angelito Valleser, chief of the Punta Princesa Police Station, as Reah Mae Tocmo, 19.
Woman possibly tortured
Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of Police Regional Office Central Visayas director Police Brigadier General Anthony Aberin, said that the victim possibly experienced torture based on the assessment of the state she was in when she was found.
“The way it was described by the station commander, tinali yung kamay niya. Yung mukha niya at saka yung paa, they are linked to each other. Tapos ni-wrap ng duct tape. So it seems that, parang, she went through some kind of torture before she was thrown away,” he said.
(The way it was described by the station commander, her hands were tied. Her face and her legs, they are linked together. Then these were wrapped in duct tape. So it seems that, she went through some kind of torture before she was thrown away.)
Possible motive eyed
However, he said that they could only be certain after they would receive the results of the medical examination of the body.
Pelare said that one angle or the possible motive that they were investigating was that it was related to the victim’s previous employment here in Cebu.
“We have a lead, but right now, hindi pa po namin pwedeng idivulge because it’s a little bit sensitive. And due respect to the parents of the victim,” he said.
(We have a lead, but right now, we cannot yet divulge it because it’s a little bit sensitive. And (to give) due respect to the parents of the victim.)
Background of dead woman
He said that they were also checking the background of the victim in order to determine all the possible motives behind the crime.
Investigators are also backtracking and looking at the CCTV footage in coordination with the Mandaue City Command Center to check these footage and determine the last person the victim talked to.
Pelare said that the PRO-7 was saddened by this incident and condemned the heinous crime.
“The PRO-7 condemns to the highest degree this kind of crime committed within Central Visayas because we do not have this kind of crime here in Central Visayas,” he said.
Despite this incident, Pelare assured that the incident was purely isolated and would not have any effect on the state of safety in Central Visayas.
“This cannot, in any way, affect or allow us to conclude that chaotic ang atong lugar (our place is chaotic),” he said.
Police said that Tocmo was a native of Panabo City in Davao del Norte, she was temporarily residing in Isla de Palma in Barangay Looc, Mandaue City since her arrival in Cebu on June 11, 2023.
Body found, victim’s identity confirmed
According to the police report, the 19-year-old was last seen at around 4 a.m. on Sunday, July 16.
A day after she was last seen or on Monday, July 17, she was found dead and stuffed inside a box at the side of the road in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City.
The box with her body inside was found by a street sweeper and barangay tanods that afternoon.
On Tuesday, July 18, the dead woman found stuffed in the box was confirmed to be Tocmo.
The police report showed that the victim’s identity was revealed by a friend of the victim, Geravil Sayta, 20, who recognized the clothes she was last seen in and the victim’s braces.
Woman victim’s father
Meanwhile, the victim’s father, Romeo Tocmo, told reporters in a phone interview, that the family was not aware that their youngest child was in Cebu.
Romeo said that they thought she was in Panabo City where she was studying in college.
He said that some of her child’s female friends asked permission from her older sister that they would attend a birthday party in Tagum City.
He said that he had no idea how she was suddenly in Cebu working in a restaurant.
He said that they only found out about it when the victim contacted her sister, days prior to the incident, to book her a ticket from Cebu to Davao so that she could attend a friend’s celebration.
No idea who the killers are
Romeo also said that he had no idea who would do this to his daughter especially since she was a kind girl.
“Buotan kaayo na akong bata,” he said.
(My daughter is a good person.)
The victim’s body is now at the Saint Francis Funeral Homes while her family is set to arrive in Cebu on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. | with Mary Godinez / CTU intern
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