18-year-old admits raping, killing 10-year-old Kiara Mae

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KIARA Mae Namanama, 10, was strangled, held under water, then killed before she was sexually abused.

This was the account of her attack that the suspect himself, Ian Rey Baculi, alias “Ian Cabrera,” provided reporters after his arrest Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.

Baculi, 18, a resident of Sitio Avocado, Barangay Maghaway, Talisay City, was arrested by police at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, three days after Namanama’s decomposing body was found in a cave in Sitio Napo, Barangay Tapul in the same city. Maghaway and Tapul are neighboring barangays.

Baculi was arrested in Barangay Campo 7 in the town of Minglanilla where he had fled following his attack on Namanama last Thursday, Jan. 6.

Namanama was found Sunday following a three-day search after her mother, Cerila, 47, reported her missing.

Police Lt. Col. Randy Caballes, chief of the Talisay City Police Station, said the arrest of Baculi was still part of the hot pursuit operation they launched after the crime took place.

He said Baculi was identified by witnesses as having been in the area before Kiara went missing.

“According to our witnesses, the minor was swimming in the river. Then the suspect followed the minor, strangled the child until she lost consciousness, after which he brought her to the cave where he concealed her body behind a pile of rocks,” Caballes said in Cebuano.

Caballes added that while Baculi admitted to sexually assaulting the 10-year-old victim, the Talisay police would wait for the autopsy results from the Regional Crime Laboratory for the medico-legal evidence of this.

Caballes said Baculi often went spearfishing in the area, the reason he frequently saw Namanama whenever she accompanied her mother to the river.

Her mother was washing clothes downstream on the same river where Namanama had gone swimming on that fateful Thursday.

The suspect and the victim were related as Baculi’s father and Namanama’s mother were cousins.

Caballes said information obtained from the barangay revealed that Baculi was a known thief in Maghaway, as well as a drug user which led to his peddling drugs, in particular, shabu.

The Talisay City Police Station will file murder charges against Baculi. Rape charges will follow if the autopsy shows evidence of this.

Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. and Caballes went to Namanama’s funeral at the Talisay City Public Cemetery Wednesday to inform the family of Baculi’s arrest.

There, a tearful Cerila lamented that the killer was a relative but said justice had been served with his arrest.

Gullas paid for Namanama’s funeral with his personal funds.

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