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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, October 9, 2012
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Theft suspect kills
niece, injures two


A suspect in theft cases allegedly went on a hacking spree Sunday in Sitio Amian, Brgy. Tampalon, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, and killed his own niece, injured his sister and her 10 month-old baby, police said.

The suspect identified as Joel Mercado, 24, was immediately arrested by Tampalon barangay officials headed by Arthur Villaflor, who endorsed him to the Kabankalan police.

Police Officer 3 Ricky Roger Toledo, Kabankalan police investigator, yesterday said the niece of the suspect, identified as Rona Mae Catubig, 4, succumbed to multiple hack wounds and was declared dead on arrival at the Tabugon Emergency Hospital, while her 10-month-old brother, Orville, and their mother, Mila Luna Mercado, survived.

Toledo said the baby had minor injuries in the left leg, while Mila Luna had hack wounds in her right hand and forehead. However, both returned to their home yesterday, bringing with them the cadaver of Rona Mae.

Investigations by the Kabankalan police showed that the incident was reportedly triggered by a stone-throwing incident, where the suspect, who was then under the influence of liquor, was hit.

Toledo said Mercado admitted having hacked his sister, nephew and niece. He however, claimed that he was not aware of what he was doing.

A bolo, allegedly used by the suspect in the hacking spree, was turned over by Tampalon barangay officials to the Kabankalan police.

Toledo said they are verifying claims that a member of the family of Mercado tipped somebody about his involvement in theft incidents, which may have angered the suspect.

The suspect is now detained at the Kabankalan City Police Station jail, pending the filing of charges against him.*GPB

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