A cannibal cult leader arrested for the murder of a farmer has been confirmed as a suspect in the brutal killing of Christine Silawan.
Jonas Bueno was arrested in Davao City yesterday (Friday, March 15) in relation to the murder of 60-year-old Trinidad Batucan in Danao City in January. As with the Lapu-Lapu schoolgirl, the deaf-mute farmer had been grotesquely mutilated and partially skinned.
Today, police have confirmed that the 32-year-old former Communist guerrilla is now an official suspect in the murder of the 16-year-old, who was attacked while walking home from church on Sunday.
In a statement, Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac said: “His arrest is a positive development as he is considered as one of the possible suspects in the on-going investigation of the death of the 16-year-old teenager in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.”
Christine was discovered dead on Monday morning with the skin on her face partially cut off, exposing her skull. As we previously reported, her oesophagus, tongue and trachea had also been “meticulously removed”.
An autopsy has since confirmed that she was stabbed at least 30 times, including in the hands and arms, suggesting that she fought off her attackers. Although she was found naked from the waist down, tests have not found evidence of rape.
Bueno denies the murder of Christine but admits killing Mr Batucan. His alleged accomplices in the first murder – his brothers Jovy and Junry – were killed during a police operation just days after the first killing. It is alleged that the three ate the flesh that they cut from their victim’s face and chest, as well as his heart.
As well as the similarities between the murders of Christine and Mr Batucan, police believe the suspect may have been in contact with the schoolgirl by telephone in the weeks before her death.
Bueno yesterday told police that he had been working in Davao for two weeks since leaving Cebu with his wife and two children. This alibi is now being checked.
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