Rape-slay case filed vs. suspect

A criminal case was filed Monday against the suspect in rape-slay of a 16-year-old girl who was found in Barangay Bago Gallera, Talomo District on Friday night.

In an interview, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Director Sr. Supt Alexander Tagum said they have several witnesses, including a previous victim, to pinpoint James Barrete Narte in the death of the girl.

Tagum said they have procured “solid evidence” against the suspect for the crime of rape with homicide as the case was filed before the City Prosecutors Office Monday morning.

Tagum revealed that a 46-year-old woman escaped from the hands of Narte who tried to rape her last week.

“The victim was punched and choked, purposely to overpower her,” Tagum said.

She was able to escape.

“So she is one of our witnesses now,” Tagum added.

Police linked Narte to the crime after a towel was found in the crime scene. Narte allegedly owned the towel.

Investigators also have witnesses who “positively pinpointed and identified” the suspect to have “grabbed the victim several hours before the recovery of the victim.”

Tagum said Narte tested negative in a drug test conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency XI.

Narte, in a radio interview, has denied the crime. He also denied owning the towel.

Narte was arrested on Saturday at 12:10 a.m., two hours after the victim’s body was found.

Narte and the victims were neighbors at Purok 10 in Bago Gallera.

Chief Insp. Ronald Lao, the Talomo Police Precinct commander, said the testimonies of witnesses and the physical evidence recovered from the crime scene was enough to arrest Narte.

At around 7 p.m. on Friday, Manila was tasked by her mother to buy a cellphone load. She failed to return home immediately.

Families and neighbors then conducted a search.

Her elder brother, a 22-year-old construction worker, found the body at the back of an abandoned house along Libby Road at around 9:30 p.m. The vacant lot was just 100 meters away from their house.

The body was wrapped in a blue cellophane bag used in banana plantations. Her pants and underwear were reportedly rolled down below her knees.

The victim sustained contusions in her body and head, believed to have been hit by a hard object causing her death.