Manhunt on for 5-year old girl’s murderer

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TUBA, Benguet  – Police operatives here launched a massive manhunt operation against a 24-year old male who is believed to be the primary suspect in the brutal murder of a 5-year old girl whose lifeless body was found beside a creek below the Taloy Norte road late Friday afternoon.

Police identified the suspect as Mark Anthony Banawa, 24, single and a native of Bocolo, Taal, Batangas and who was described to be the cousin of the victim’s mother.

Initial investigation showed Banawa went to fetch Catheryn Marrie Gonzales Baban, 5, a kindergarten pupil from her school at the nearby Taloy Sur Elementary School shortly before lunch Friday and that they were supposed to be home at around 12 noon.

However, family members and relatives of the victim were worried after the two never arrived home prompting them to seek the assistance of law enforcers who immediately conducted the necessary search operations.

At around 4:30 pm, her relatives were able to find her bag on the road and to their surprise, the lifeless body of the victim near the creek 30 feet below the Taloy Norte Road.

Personnel of the Scene of the Crime Operation (SOCO) team discovered the victim sustained a fracture on the right side of his head which could have been caused by a blund object that was used by the suspect in hitting her. The victim also sustained various abrasions on the different parts of her body although sexual molestation was temporarily ruled out.

Reliable sources informed the police that they saw the suspect walking along Marcos highway at around 2 pm Friday and that he was last seen within the premises of Burnham Park at around 5 pm as he was reportedly dropped in the area by the jeepney driver considering that he was not able to pay his fare.

Probers appealed to the public to provide them with the vital information on the whereabouts of the suspect so that he will be appropriately turned over to them for the further conduct of the investigation that will allow them to ascertain the motive of the young girl’s murder.

By Dexter A; See

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