July 12, 2010. Canadian national Geoffrey Allan Bennun, 60 years old, and his live-in partner Abigail Helina, 20 years old, were found dead inside their apartment in Oasis Hotel at the Clarkville Compound in Angeles City, Pampanga.
According to the Angeles police, both victims suffered bullet wounds on their heads. Both of the victims’ faces were covered with different objects.
Based on initial investigation, robbery was the motive behind the murders.
Crime scene at the Oasis Hotel in Clarkville compound.
Four days later, July 16, another couple was found dead inside their home at Sta. Maria Subdivision in Angeles City--British national James Bolton Porter, 50 years old, and his live-in partner Melissa Madarang, 22 years old.
And just like the first two victims, Porter and Madarang both suffered bullet wounds in their heads. Their faces were also covered when they were found by the authorities.
Crime scene at the Sta. Maria Subdivision.
July 27, 11 days later, US veteran Albert Mitchell and his wife Janet were found dead inside their home in Hensonville Subdivision in Angeles City. Also found dead were three other people—their housekeepers Isabel Farjardo and Marissa Prado, and their friend Yulberto Vergara.
All five victims suffered bullet wounds in the head and chest. And their faces were also covered by various objects.
In both cases, the victims were also robbed of various electronic gadgets.
Crime scene at the Hensonville Subdivision.
Serial killer on the loose?
The similarities in the killings alarmed the Angeles City police and led them to deduce that there might be a serial killer on the loose targeting foreigners.
“Nagkaroon ng same pattern iyong modus operandi niya—tinatakpan yung mukha, binabaril iyong ulo [at] dibdib,” Senior Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Eduardo Tolentino of the Angeles PNP tells ABS-CBN Scene of the Crime Operatives.
“Once a foreigner is involved in this kind of incident, kino-consider namin ito na sensational crime,” he adds.
But what baffled them was that there seemed to be no sign of forced entry in all three cases which, according to Tolentino, indicates that the victims knew their killer.
A special investigation task force was immediately formed to track the identity of the killer. Days into the investigation, several witnesses surfaced.
One of the witnesses, a security guard in Hensonville subdivision, gave a detailed account of the day the Mitchells were murdered.
“May papalabas na isang lalaki ng mga ala una dos. Ngayon naghinala ako nang pagpasok niya walang dala, pero paglabas niya meron na siyang dalang laundry bag,” security guard Angelito Prado tells ABS-CBN SOCO.
At that point, Prado confronted the man and asked him to stay put while he checked out the Mitchells’ home.
The Mitchell residence.
What he saw shocked him.
Because not only did he see the Mitchells lifeless, he also saw three other bodies drenched in blood—one them was his younger sister, Marissa.
Prado rushed back to the guard house only to find that the man whom he now suspects to be the killer has fled.
Finding the identity
After talking to all the witness, the authorities were able to create several composite sketches. And when they compared the sketches, they discovered that the images were similar to each other leading them to conclude that the murders were committed by the same perpetrator.
Composite sketch of the suspect
But the big question remained—who was that person on the composite sketches?
An unlikely tool
Further into the investigation, another crucial witness surfaced—Mariz Andraneda, niece of one of the victims.
Andraneda lived with the Mitchells and, as it turns out, knew the killer whom she identified as Mark Dizon.
Andraneda says they met Dizon in 2002. He became a regular visitor at the Mitchells’—fixing their laptops and other electronic gadgets.
When Mariz was asked to give a physical description of the suspect, she showed pictures of Dizon which were posted on his Facebook account. The authorities printed out a copy of Dizon’s picture and showed it to the other witnesses who immediately identified him.
The Angeles Serial Killer. Mark Dizon’s
picture from his Facebook account.
The authorities then did a background check on the suspect and discovered that he was a computer technician.
With this information, they were able to piece together Dizon’s modus. “Mahilig pala siya sa mga computer. Maaaring gawain niya’y nag-ooffer sa mga foreigners [na] i-repair o aplayan ng services [ang mga computer] na meron siyang access kaya nakakausap niya itong mga biktima,” Tolentino explains.
The perfect plan
After finally identifying the suspect, the authorities coordinated with Dizon’s parents for his surrender. But according to Dizon’s father, Troadio, the suspect was planning to join the New People’s Army.
At this point, the authorities hatched a trap for Dizon. “Gustong sumama sa NPA, sakyan natin sabi ko,” reveals Col. Bautista.
July 27, five days after the Mitchells were murdered, the PNP set their plan into motion. Thinking that he was meeting up with NPA rebels, Dizon went to San Fernando, La Union only to be arrested by the authorities.
Suspect Mark Dizon was arrested in San Fernando, La Union
After his arrest, Dizon was charged by the Angeles City Regional Trial Court with 7 counts of theft with murder.
He is currently detained at the Angeles City District Jail.
When ABS-CBN SOCO spoke to him, he vehemently denied all the allegations against him.
“Wala po ako sa oras at araw na ‘yon na pinangyarihan ng krimen,” Dizon insists.
His father, meanwhile, could not believe that his son was capable of such crimes.
“Hindi niya kayang pumatay. Kaya niyang magnakaw, totoo iyon dahil may sakit eh, kleptomaniac ‘yon. Pero ang pumatay hindi,” Troadio insists.
But despite Dizon’s denial, his fate lies on how the judge will weigh the testimonies of the eyewitnesses and the evidences found at the crime scene.