The new suspect in the murder of 16-year-old Christine Silawan claims he was inspired by the online Momo Challenge when he cut off her face with scissors.
Renato Llenes, aged 45, said he killed Christine after she refused to have sex with him. He said he became obsessed with his victim after grooming her on Facebook under the alias of ‘C J Diaz’.
He said he met Christine in person on March 10, a day before she was found dead and mutilated on a vacant lot in Lapu-Lapu City.
Llenes said the teenager walked away from him after discovering his true age and identity. He described how he had already been angered when Christine told him that she was no longer a virgin.
He then became violent and attempted to rape her but was unable to get an erection.
After this he stabbed her to death with a pair of scissors, he claimed. He told police that he cut off her face in order to conceal her identity.
“I stabbed her with a pair of scissors and peeled off her skin so she won’t be recognised,” he said in Cebuano. “I admitted everything. I was alone when I killed her.”
Inspired by Momo Challenge
He claimed that he learned how to peel the skin off a human face through “Facebook, YouTube and the Momo Challenge”. The last of these is a controversial online fad blamed for encouraging children to self harm.
The suspect said he had been on drugs at the time and surrendered because his conscience was bothering him.
Llenes, a father of five, was initially charged yesterday (Wednesday, April 10) with illegal possession of firearms and violation of the election gun ban.
Philippine National Police chief, General Oscar Albayalde, said a case would be filed against Llenes, even though the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is simultaneously proceeding with a case against a 17-year-old ex-boyfriend of the victim.
NBI regional director Tomas Enrile said the case against the teenager would continue despite the new arrest. “The arrest of another suspect will not affect our case.”
The teenager’s lawyer Vincent Isles said the arrest of the new suspect debunked the case against his client. “Definitely, it is a welcome development because the case theory of the NBI, with all due respect to them, has been debunked by the PNP themselves,” he said.
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