Reah Mae Tocmo: The kind, gentle woman whose dreams ended with her gruesome death, her body stuffed in a box

By: Emmariel Ares and Paul Lauro - Multimedia reporter and correspondent/CDN Digital | July 19,2023 - 06:09 PM

woman in box

A photo of Rhea Mae Tocmo taken from her Facebook page. Tocmo was found dead, stuffed inside a box and left at the side of the road in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City on Monday, July 17, 2023.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — To her loved ones, Reah Mae Tocmo was a kind, obedient, and gentle soul who always put family first.

The 19-year old girl was greatly loved by her parents and two sisters who always doted on her as the youngest in the family.

But now, her family’s dreams of seeing her grow up to be successful and happy has been destroyed with the shocking news of her sudden death.

READ: Family cries for justice for Reah Tocmo; police continue to pursue leads

Youngest daughter

Her father, Romeo Tocmo, spoke to CDN Digital about their youngest daughter’s kind nature.

”Buotan gyud na siya nga bata,” he said.

(She is a good girl.)

He described Reah as a kind and obedient girl who always listened and never spoke back to her parents.

Despite growing up with a broken family, Reah was very considerate and always eager to help.

READ: Woman, 19, was possibly tortured before she was killed and stuffed in box – PRO-7 exec

Hardworking student

As a student, Reah was hardworking and she was determined to graduate from college so she could help her family.

The young woman was staying with her eldest sister and her family in Panabo City in Davao del Norte ever since she started college.

Her sister, Rochie Tocmo Poblacion, 31, is a business owner and was the one supporting her so she could graduate college.

Their father even said that Reah would also help her sister watch over her five-year-old child.

READ: Woman found dead inside box in Cebu was 19 year-old from Davao del Norte

Why did someone do this to her?

Even as a shy girl, Reah was friendly with the people around her which made her family even more confused as to why would somebody do this to her.

Reah’s aunt, Adela , who lives in Sibonga, Cebu, also recalled her niece as a sweet and loving girl.

“Sa akong pagka-ila aning akong pag-umangkon, wala jud ni si Yayan atraso. Wala jud kabingkil. Okay kaayo ni siya kay buotan nga bata unya matinahuron sa iya ate ug naa gyud siyay respeto sa iya ate,” she said.

(From what I know of my niece, Yayan has no enemies. She has not have argument with somebody. She is an okay child because she is a good girl and she really her sister.)

The young girl’s father also recalled his daughter’s dreams that had now been wasted.

READ: Dead woman, tied and wrapped, found inside a box in Tisa, Cebu

Police officer, tourism

Reah always wanted to be a police officer, said her father. And she was studying criminology as a first year student before she decided to stop.

However, she also planned to shift courses to Tourism for the next semester.

But then the young girl decided to quit studying and asked permission from her sister to find work in Davao.

READ: Man in Sibonga, Cebu confesses to killing his 72-year-old elder sister – police

Stop schooling, work in Cebu

Despite her sister insisting for her to continue her tertiary education, Reah wanted to stop so that she could earn money to help her family.

At first, her older sister was hesitant and reminded her that she did not have to worry about the finances.

But Reah was sure of what she wanted and she eventually gained her sister’s approval to start working.

Determined to earn money to help her family, 19-year-old Reah came to Cebu by herself for a job in a restaurant in Mandaue City, Cebu.

However, what her family knew was that she was working in Davao, as this was what she told her sister.

And it came as a shock to them when they found out that she was in Cebu when she called her sister to ask her for to book a ticket back to Davao.

Her aunt said that Reah could have possibly hidden the truth because she knew her family would not approve of her coming to an unfamiliar place for the first time and by herself.

READ: Estranged wife survives stabbing attack by husband, who confronted her over negative comments on social media

Assured family

But the kind Reah did not fail to assure her family back home that she was okay every time they called to ask about how she was doing.

And so the family was relieved thinking that she was in a good condition.

But the young woman unexpectedly suffered in the hands of still unidentified assailants.

The unexpected passing of the kind and shy girl who only wanted to help her family has greatly affected her loved ones.

READ: CONSOLACION STABBING: Manhunt on for man who allegedly stabbed to death his live-in partner

Difficult to accept

While thinking that the woman was well and safe in Davao, it was extremely difficult for them to accept that the lifeless body that was found tied up and stuffed inside a box, was their loved one.

“Wa gyud mi katuo pirmiro sa pagkahibaw. Natural ikaw amahan maglagot ka pagkakita sa [nahitabo],” stated her father who was angry at first when he received the news.

(We could not believe at first when we learned about it. It is natural for a father to get angry when I saw (what happened).)

Reah’s sister booked her a ticket to go back home to attend a friend’s celebration but now, she would be going home in a casket.

READ: Calls mount for independent probe of Negros killings

Cry for justice

The incident is still painful for her family members and they plead with the public to help with any information that they may give to the police to give justice to what happened to the young woman.

“Ang ako lang hangyo nga mogawas lang unta hustisya og nganong na-ingna siya,” said Reah’s father.

(My only request is that justice will come out on what they did to her.)

He said that per her mother’s request to see her for the last time, her wake will be held in Cagayan, Misamis Oriental where her mother resides. | with Mary Godinez, CTU Intern

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