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Habal-habal driver key to solving Reah Mae Tocmo’s murder – police

By: Emmariel Ares, Mary Rose Sagarino - CDN Digital Correspondent, Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 20,2023 - 06:23 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 on the side of the road in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City on Monday, July 17, 2023.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The habal-habal driver whom Reah Mae Tocmo boarded in one of the last moments she was seen alive could provide key information regarding her death, the Cebu City police believe.

Tocmo was the 19-year-old woman whose bruised body was found stuffed inside a carton box and left on the side of the road in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City on Monday, July 17, 2023.

The police are backtracking closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage around Barangay Looc, Mandaue City where the victim used to reside.

Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) director, Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog revealed on Thursday, July 20, that they have recovered CCTV footage showing the 19-year-old woman boarding a yellow motorcycle believed to be a habal-habal on the day she was last seen alive.

Dalogdog said that based on the footage, the motorcycle was not seen heading to the highway.

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

He said that there is a possibility that after traveling for a few meters, the victim was grabbed by the assailants and transferred to another vehicle.

He added that the crime could have possibly been done by two or three persons and that a four-wheeled vehicle was used to transport the victim.

Dalogdog said that the footage they have recovered has been submitted to the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit for video enhancement in order for them to determine the identity of the habal-habal driver and the plate number of his motorcycle.

Dalogdog said that the habal-habal driver is now considered a person of interest.

The police chief believes that the driver plays a vital role in identifying the perpetrators of the crime as the individual might be a witness to the alleged kidnapping of the victim.

Dalogdog reassured the driver that he should not be scared to give any information about the case because the police will be providing protection.

“Tagaan nato siyag assurance nga kinanghalan ato siya protektahan. Dapat man gud og ikaw pud nakasaksi ka mismo sa maong krimen, magboluntaryo ka nga mohatag og statement para sa kasulbaran sa maong kaso,” he said.

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

To find out the exact cause of Reah Mae’s death, the police have submitted a request to the Regional Forensic Unit, according to Dalogdog.

But based on the pictures of the victimDalogdog suspects that the victim’s face was burned with either hot water or acid. He added that the police also found hematoma in the victim’s wrist and legs and a stab wound on the side of her body.

The police have also talked to the parents of the victim who said that they have no idea who could possibly have the motive to do to this their daughter, said Dalogdog.

The officer also revealed that they are also tracing another lead that could unmask the killers but refused to give further details so as not to comprise their investigation.

But he assured that the Cebu City police, especially the Labangon Police Station, will continue to investigate to give justice to Tocmo.

“We hope na sa dili madugayan, ato gyung ma-identify ang suspetsado ani nga kaso,” he said.

Tocmo’s family arrived in Cebu on Wednesday, July 19, to claim her body and bring it back to Cagayan de Oro City where her wake will be held.

Mandaue City police extend help in the investigation

The Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) is also assisting the Cebu City police in their investigation of the gruesome killing of Tocmo. MCPO Deputy City Director for Operations Lieutenant Colonel Franco Rudolf Oriol said that they are also gathering information that could help CCPO in their investigation. He said though that he cannot divulge the information collected. But their investigation unit was able to recover CCTV footage in some of the intersections in Barangay Looc in Mandaue City, where Tocmo was captured leaving the barangay. She was temporarily staying in a boarding house in Looc. “Dako kaayo to nga tabang sa investigation sa case,” said Oriol. The footage were recovered with the help of the command center of the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office. | with Mary Godinez, CTU intern /rcg


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TAGS: Cebu City, dead body, driver, Murder, police, Reah Mad Tocmo

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