Police clueless on identities of 3 charred bodies

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Monday, July 7, 2014

POLICE are clueless on the identities of the bodies of three men who were killed, burned and dumped in Zone 1, Barangay Santa Ana, Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental, over the weekend.

Last Saturday’s torching of the bodies was the second incident in less than a month after residents discovered a charred corpse in Barangay Natumulan, Tagoloan, on June 15, said Senior Inspector Maricris Mulat, Tagoloan police station chief.

Investigators said the men could be in their 20s or 30s, and one of them has a ring on his left thumb.


Dr. West Edquila of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) said the bodies were so badly burned that investigators are finding it difficult to identify each based on facial recognition.

Mulat added the victims were not local residents; and they were just ditched in the area since the Tagoloan police have no record of any missing persons.

Based on initial investigation, the Soco did not find any stab or gunshot wounds on the bodies, Edquila said.

What investigators found instead were pieces of tie wires that Soco believed were used to strangle the victims to death before they were burned.

However Edquila said until the bodies are autopsied; they could not yet determine the exact cause of death.

Investigators suspected the crime took place around 4:00 in the morning of Saturday, July 5.

A resident who was passing by the area early in the morning on Saturday noticed something was burning but did not mind it since the place has been a waste dump by the villagers.

It was only after the passerby sensed a strange stench emanating from the site and approached it only to find out the burned corpses.

Mulat told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Sunday that the method of burning the victim in Natumulan was also the same used on another man in Indahag who was torched to death on June 10.

She said the perpetrators spread sawdust on the ground before dumping and setting the victims on fire. Sawdust is known to burn stuff for a longer time.

But, Mulat said, this was not the case in the incident in Santa Ana.
“They (suspects) did not use sawdust on that one,” she said, referring to how the victims in Santa Ana were burned.

“Killing a person, even if he commits a crime, is unjustifiable and wrong,” adding that the Tagoloan police station makes it a point to file criminal charges against crime suspects instead.

Alerted Minda police offices

Superintendent Michael Pareja, Philippine National Police Northern Mindanao regional office (PNP-10) spokesperson, said an alert has already been put to other police offices in Mindanao to check missing persons in their areas that may lead to the identification of the victims.

“That’s our problem right now. We can’t yet identify them (bodies),” Pareja told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Sunday afternoon.

Asked if a criminal group is behind the murders, Pareja said he could not yet comment as the investigation is still ongoing.

He added the police did not create a special investigation task group (SITG) to look into this incident as the SITG is organized only for slain politicians and journalists.

Pareja said the investigation is in the hands of the local police investigators.

At press time, the bodies have been brought to Bollozos funeral parlor in Barangay Bulua. So far, no claimant has showed up yet.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 07, 2014.

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