How far would you go for love? Are you willing to let go...Or hold on until the very last breath?
October 2, 2010. Around seven in the evening, while the police officers of the Angeles City Police Station 3 were going about their usual routine, a hotel supervisor came into their office seeking help—a girl was found dead in one of their units’ comfort room. The authorities rushed to the said hotel in Barangay Pulung Maragul. And there they saw the body--lying on the floor, bloodied, and worse, decapitated.
“Talagang brutal yun pagkakapatay sa kanya. Walang damit no, may twalya nakapatong sa kanya pero sa bandang ibaba walang takip,” investigator on-case SPO3 Roberto Manuel said.
The crime scene. The victim's body was found on the bathroom floor, bloodied and decapitated.
The authorities were unable to find evidence that would give light on the girl’s identity. But after talking to some of the hotel staff, they were able to come up with an artist sketch of the man she came in the hotel with.
Who was this man? And what was his reason for brutally murdering the girl?
Based on the hotel supervisor and room boy’s sworn affidavits, on October 1, 2010, around eight in the evening, a man carrying a plastic bag tried to leave the hotel alone. As a policy, guests weren’t allowed to leave alone unless given consent by the partner they came in with. So when the man was about to ride a tricycle, the hotel supervisor stopped him and told him that they would have to inspect the room first.
According to the room boy, the man, all jittery and pale, tried to beat him to the room. And when they reached the room, the man shouted as if telling someone that he was already leaving. Thinking that the man’s partner gave consent, the room boy eventually allowed him to go.
Because of the hotel supervisor and the room boy’s testimonies, the authorities began piecing the puzzle together. And in order to expedite the identification of both the suspect and the victim, they contacted the media.
For them, this tactic proved to be effective.
At that time, a man whom we shall call “Jaime” for security reasons, was searching for his niece, 22-year-old Katrina Gantan, who’s been missing for three days already. And when he heard of the news about the decapitated girl, he rushed to the Angeles Police Station 3.
The authorities accompanied him to the funeral parlor. And when he saw the body, he had no doubt that it was his niece, Katrina.
Base on autopsy results, Katrina died due to a stab wound on the stomach area.
Jaime felt his world collapse. Apparently, Katrina’s parents were separated and she treated him as his second father. “Hindi mo sukat isipin na ganun mangyayari sa kanya,” Jaime says. “Friendly [siya], walang kaaway, bakit gagawin ‘yung ganun.”
Reenactment. Mang Jaime identifying the victim as her 22-year-old niece, Katrina Gantan.
And while Jaime was still reeling with the discovery, he was able to give the authorities a vital piece of information. They showed him the artist’s sketch of the suspect and, apparently, he knew the man—a one Adonis Reyes.
Who was Adonis? And what was his connection to the victim and her uncle?
Artist's sketch. The victim's uncle identified the suspect as one Adonis Reyes.
Friend or foe?
According to Jaime, when Katrina went missing, he asked her brother to text all her friends and officemates. They received a reply from a person who identified himself as Katrina’s officemate—Adonis Reyes.
They met up with Adonis. He even accompanied him to the call center office where the she and Katrina worked. They asked around but nobody could tell them where Katrina went after work.
The victim. 22-year-old Katrina Gantan.
After that, Adonis agreed to meet up with Jaime again on October 4, 2010.
The authorities used the situation to their advantage. “I instructed the uncle na mag-establish ng communication at ituloy ‘yung pag-uusap nila [ni Adonis],”Angeles City Police Station 3 Commander PC/Insp. Romeo Castro says.
The authorities laid out the plans for the operation to arrest Adonis Reyes. They also brought with them the hotel supervisor so he could identify the suspect.
The suspect. October 4, 2010, Adonis Reyes was arrested by the Angeles Police.
As scheduled, Jaime met up with Adonis in a fast food in Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga. And when Adonis arrived in a tricycle, the hotel supervisor positively identified him as the man who left their hotel the night Katrina’s body was found.
Immediately, the police arrested the suspect.
Despite his arrest, Katrina’s family was still restless. Her head was still missing. “Ang hinihiling ko lang, ibalik niya ‘yung ulo ng anak ko para mailibing nang matiwasay,” Katrina’s mother, Jeannie Fernandez See pleaded.
The authorities believed that Adonis did not have time to bury the victim’s head. So they searched all the secluded areas. Finally, under the Morales Bridge in Barangay Poblacion, near the suspect’s residence, they found Katrina’s head.
With the suspect arrested and Katrina’s head found, the question still remained—What was the suspect’s motive in killing the victim?
Throughout the course of the investigation, the authorities were able to interview one of Katrina’s friends whose identity shall be concealed under the name “Jason”. According to Jason, before the murder, he would always find Katrina crying. Apparently, Katrina had a boyfriend.
“Nalaman ko nga na may asawa ‘yung lalaki,” Jason says. “Ilang beses na in-attempt [ni Katrina] makipaghiwalay kaso hindi yata, ayaw ng lalaki,” Jason adds.
The suspect denied all the allegations. “Ni hindi nga ako marunong kumatay ng manok eh,” Adonis said. “Sana makonsensya na ‘yung pumatay sa kanya,” the suspect added.
Nevertheless, the Angeles City PNP filed a murder complaint against him at the Angeles City Prosecutor’s Office. “Base sa mga ebidenysa na isinumite ng pulisya sa amin, kung pagtatagpi-tagpiin natin, malakas ang probable cause,” Angeles City prosecutor Atty. Oliver Garcia says. “Pero umapela itong si Adonis at humihingi ng reinvestigation,” says Atty. Garcia. Kaya ngayon ay nasa fiscal level pa rin ang kaso.”
And while his case is being reviewed, Adonis is currently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology detention facility in Angeles City. ABS-CBN SOCO tried to get a statement from the suspect but he begged off to be interviewed.
Katrina’s family, meanwhile, continues to pray that justice will be served and her soul will finally be put to rest.