CEBU (3RD UPDATE) - The National Bureau of Investigation on Monday said it has arrested a suspect in the killing of 16-year-old student Christine Lee Silawan.
The suspect, a minor, is allegedly linked to the crime based on several pieces of evidence including cellphone communication with the victim, said NBI-Central Visayas Director Atty. Tomas Enrile.
The suspect was arrested Saturday evening, he said.
Silawan, a student of the Maribago High School, was found dead in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu last week. She was reportedly raped and the skin of her skull peeled off.
Enrile said the suspect is not a certain Jonas Bueno, who was initially tagged as a possible "person of interest" in the Silawan case. Police, however, said they had yet to find evidence linking Bueno to the crime.
Silawan's mother Lourdes burst into tears in front of her daughter's casket upon learning of the suspect's arrest.
"We will not see each other again, Inday," she said in the local dialect, clutching a photo of her daughter.
"I feel a bit relieved, but I will continue seeking justice until others involved in the crime are arrested," she later told reporters.
DOWNGRADE FROM 'SUSPECT'
Davao Regional Police Regional Office has downgraded Bueno to being a person of interest in Silawan's death after they were unable to find any link between the man and the teenager.
Authorities earlier said the victim was chatting with someone on Facebook Messenger before she was killed, but this could not be Bueno since he did not speak English, having only studied until Grade 4, said Regional Director Police Brigadier General Marcelo Morales.
Bueno had denied involvement in the 16-year-old girl’s death, insisting that he was in Davao when the crime happened on March 10. This is supported by witnesses.
"He has been in Mindanao since last year," Morales said.
Bueno’s personality did not match the profile of the Lapu-Lapu City victim’s chat mate.
He was arrested last week after being identified as a suspect in the killing of a farmer in Cebu.
-- With a report from Annie Perez and Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News