The second suspect in the massacre of four family members, including a six-year-old girl, in Barangay Tangub, Bacolod City was arrested in a police follow-up operation Thursday, April 8.
The statement of the first suspect, 39-year-old Christian Don Tulot, who was picked up by the police as a person of interest in Salvador Benedicto town Wednesday afternoon, April 7, led to the arrest of his uncle, Joel Espinosa, 57, at his home in Barangay Tangub, which was adjacent to the victims’ house.
Espinosa, who turned out to be the brother of the two victims, vehemently denied his involvement in the killing.
The third assailant, who has yet to be identified, remained at large.
They were linked to the murders of Jocelyn Espinosa-Nombre, 59; her sister Remedios Jemma Espinosa, 69; their nephew John Michael Espinosa, 35; and his six-year-old daughter. Their cadavers were already in a state of decomposition when they were found in their residence on Wednesday.
Based on the statement of Tulot, the third suspect, who was only known as “Alias Bro,” and Michael got in a heated argument, that prompted the assailant to hit the victim with a hammer, Police Lt. Liberty Indiape, information officer of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), said.
The second victim, Jocelyn, who tried to run for help, was allegedly hit by a hammer and hacked by the suspects.
Remedios was then killed in the hut and the six-year-old girl inside the home.
Tulot, who yielded P6,800 worth of suspected shabu when he was arrested, was charged with illegal possession of drugs Wednesday.
But Tulot, in an interview with the media Thursday night, recanted his earlier statements and admitted that he was the only one who perpetrated the murders.
Police continue to investigate the case.
Meanwhile, Mayor Evelio Leonardia, in a statement, said he salutes the police “for immediately solving the gruesome massacre that happened in Barangay Tangub” and “did a very impressive job.”
“While it was an unfortunate and very sad incident, we hope that it will never happen again. The swift action and solution by our policemen give us a sense of assurance that in Bacolod, crime does not pay,” he said.
He added, “may the victims rest in peace as we seek justice on their behalf. At the same time, we convey our deepest condolences to the family of the victims.”*