By GERRY LEE GORIT, Correspondent
CAGAYAN de Oro City–A young man is now in detention while charges of rape and homicide will be filed against him for allegedly sexually and physically assaulting a female minor in Barangay Puntod, this city, on January 1, police said on Wednesday.
Macabalan police deputy station commander Insp. Edgar Villanueva said Ric Jan Polinar, 21, will likely face those charges after his own friends tagged him as the one most likely to have sexually and physically assaulted Jera Mae “Sophia” Lumacang, 17, from Sitio San Nicolas in Puntod.
Villanueva said it was Polinar’s cousin Eric Polinar, 18, and his friend Mark Sagaad, 18, who told investigators that the suspect was the last person Lumacang was with before she was found lifeless in a secluded area in San Nicolas late Tuesday afternoon.
Eric and Mark were said to be Lumacang’s former boyfriends.
The victim, naked from the waist down, was put inside a rice sack when recovered by the police.
A black underwear and a hammer, believed to be the weapon used in killing Lumacang, were also found at the crime scene.
Although the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) has yet to release a forensics report, Villanueva said Lumacang sustained multiple wounds on her head and face.
Investigators said it was probable the victim died in the morning of Jan. 1 hours before she went with the three young men to have a drink.
But in an interview, Ric Jan said he did not do it as he said it was his cousin Eric who was seen last with Lumacang prior to her death.
“I am willing to undergo lie detector and DNA test just to prove my innocence,” he told reporters while in detention inside the Macabalan police station on Wednesday.
On Sunday at about 10 p.m. Ric Jan said he was with Eric and Sagaad when they chanced upon Lumacang in San Nicolas and Eric invited her to a convenience store near the bus terminal in Agora, Barangay Lapasan for a drink.
He said it was Eric who went with Lumacang as he went home early to get some sleep.
Ric Jan said Eric wanted to revive his romantic relationship with Lumacang. The suspect said he heard Eric wooing Lumacang back.
“I heard him (Eric) telling her ‘magbalik ta ba’ (let’s get back),” he added.
Eric could not be available for an interview, but Sagaad said he was with Ric Jan and Eric drinking inside their residence on the night of Dec. 31.
It was past 10 p.m. when the three men went to Agora with Lumacang. They had a drink there but went back to San Nicolas past midnight.
Villanueva put the time of the crime as between 12 midnight and 1 a.m. of Jan. 1. During that time Sagaad was already home.
Lumacang’s close friend, who refused to identify herself, said she was with the victim as they had planned to spend the New Year together, but was dismayed when she went out to hang out with the Polinars and Sagaad.
Sagaad’s mother Maya Mae said she was with his son when the crime occurred, although, she added, Mark went to Agora briefly but came back home when she fetched him.
After getting back home, she said “he did not leave my sight. In fact, I had to attend to him when he was not feeling well due to his ulcer.” Sagaad is also recovering from an appendectomy.
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