Toledo police chief: We are convinced we got the suspect in killing of 17-year-old girl

Suspect Jonathan Sugabo vehemently denies allegations linking him to death of teener

By: Emmariel Ares and Paul Lauro - Multimedia reporter and correspondent/CDN Digital | August 26,2023 - 12:42 PM

Toledo police chief: We are convinced we got the suspect in killing of 17-year-old girl. In photo is Jonathan Sugabo, 29, the suspect in the killing of the 17-year-old Sharmaine Flores, denying the allegations that he killed the girl. | Paul Lauro

Jonathan Sugabo, 29, the suspect in the killing of the 17-year-old Sharmaine Flores, denied the allegations that he killed the girl. | Paul Lauro

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Police are convinced that they have arrested the right man in the killing of the 17-year-old girl, who was found dead and half-naked in a grassy area in Barangay Bunga, Toledo City on Friday morning, August 25, 2023.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Manolo Salvatierra, police chief of Toledo Police Station, was referring to the suspect, Jonathan “Atan” Sugabo, 29, a resident of the barangay, who was arrested on Friday afternoon, August 25.

READ: 17 year-old girl found half naked, dead in Toledo City, Cebu

Toledo Police

“Kumbinsido na mi nga mao na ni si ‘Atan’ ang suspect ug way laing kuyog ang suspect sa paghimo sa krimen,” said Police Chief Salvatierra.

(We are convinced that ‘Atan’ is really the suspect and he has no other companion who did the crime.)

He was referring to the suspect in the killing of 17-year-old Sharmaine Flores.

He said that they would first file a murder case against the suspect on Tuesday, August 29, because it would be a holiday on Monday, August 28.

READ: Mother of 17-year-old girl, who was found dead in Toledo City, cries for justice

Victim’s mom on suspect

Anna Maria Flores, the mother of the victim, in a separate interview with CDN Digital, also said that she was convinced that Sugabo was the one who allegedly killed her daughter.

Di ko magduha duha (nga) siya …nisumbong akong (usa ka) anak…nga kanang lakiha nagchatchat na sa akong anak,” said the mother of the victim.

(I am sure that it is him… (one of) my child told us…that that man would chat on her child (the victim).)

The suspect, Sugabo, was arrested on Friday afternoon, August 25, or hours after the body of the dead victim was found.

READ: Police: Rhea Mae Tocmo’s killing now a ‘closed case’

From POI to suspect

Police at first identified Sugabo as a person of interest but when one of the witnesses positively told police of Sugabo’s presence in the area where the victim was last seen they considered him as a suspect and arrested him.

Sugabo in an interview with CDN Digital inside the detention cell denied the allegations against him.

He said that he would admit passing by in the area where the victim was last seen, but he vehemently denied allegations that he was hanging out in the area and that he was the one who allegedly killed the girl.

“Di gyud. Niagi ra ko anang dapita…Wa gyud ko nagbarog diha. Niingon pa siya niagi ko anang dapita, kana angkonon ko na niagi ko,” he said.

(No. I only passed by the area…I was hanging out or standing there. He said that I passed by the area, that I will admit that I passed by there.)

READ: TIMELINE: The tragic ending of Reah Mae Tocmo

Scratches on body

When asked about the fresh scratches on his body, Sugabo told police that this was caused by the branches of shrubs or trees that hit his body while looking for firewood.

 “Sabod sabod ni kaniadto sa pagsuot suot nako sa kabungangan sa iyang pagpangahoy,” said Saguba.

(This was caused by the things that scrape his body as he entered the dense foliage or dense shrubs to look for firewood.)

Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) earlier revealed that upon investigation, the victim’s body was found with human bite marks on her face and neck.

READ: Mandaue police rescue girl who was kidnapped, placed inside suitcase

When victim was last seen in Toledo

The victim, identified by police as Sharmaine Flores, 17, a Grade 12 student, was last seen by her family on Thursday evening, August 24, 2023.

The victim’s mother, Anna Maria Flores, said that her daughter left their house that night to buy load at the store.

However, she did not return to their house and Anna Maria failed to find her that night.

On the morning of Friday, August 25, a body of a half-naked girl was found and, who was later identified as Sharmaine Flores, much to the family’s shock.

The victim’s undergarment on her lower body was pulled down to her knees when she was found indicating a possible rape.

READ: Young kidnap victim in Mandaue claims suspect kissed her mouth and private parts

Appeal for help

The victim’s mother earlier appealed for help the public and the police to help her and her family get justice for what happened to her daughter, the sixth out of seven siblings, who had a dream of becoming a doctor.

“Gusto lang ko mangayo ninyo og tabang. Tagaan nako siya og hustisya. Madakpan ta ang nagbinuang sa akong anak. Mao ra jud na usa nga gipangayo,” she said.

(I appeal to all of you to help us. Please help us give justice to my daughter. We want the person who did this to my child arrested. That is all we ask.)

ALSO READ: Another teen killed by cop; second in 2 weeks

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TAGS: crime, police, Toledo

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