crimes in the Philippines

What we know so far: Davao del Norte student’s body found stuffed in box in Cebu 

John Sitchon

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What we know so far: Davao del Norte student’s body  found stuffed in box in Cebu 


Police identify the victim as a 19-year-old student from Panabo City, Davao del Norte

CEBU, Philippines – Residents of Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, found a box wrapped in packaging tape left along the road on Monday, July 17. Inside was the body of a young woman.

Police have now identified the victim as 19-year-old Rhea Mae Tocmo, a student from Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

Labangon police chief Major Angelito Valleser told Rappler in an interview on Wednesday, July 19, that they were able to track Tocmo’s whereabouts from the day she first arrived in Cebu City to meet up with a friend up until her disappearance at around 4 pm on Sunday, July 16.

“Niabot na siya diri June 11…. Based na siya sa plane ticket (She arrived here on June 11…. That’s based on the plane ticket),” Valleser said.

Plant, Vegetation, Leaf
SHOCKING. Cebu residents are shocked to find the body of 19-year-old student Rhea Mae Tocmo of Panabo City, Davao del Norte, stuffed in a box in their city. Photo courtesy of Police Major Angelito Valleser
Shocking find

Initial investigation showed that a security guard from a nearby subdivision found the body along the road at around 7:35 am on Monday.

“Wala lang pud niya hilabti. According niya, ang kato nga carton kay nagtuo siya nga parcel, nagtuo siya nga natagak. Pero at 10 am, naay occupant nga niingon na niya i-check,” Valleser said.

(He didn’t touch it at first. According to him, he thought at first that it was a package which fell. But at 10 am, there was an occupant who asked to have it checked.)

At around 1 pm, a street sweeper checked the box with some barangay officials and found a protruding hand. 

By 2 pm, police received the report and immediately inspected the scene.

Beyond recognition

Based on preliminary reports, Tocmo’s body was discovered in a curled position and stuffed in the box that was securely bound with packaging tape. 

Valleser said the victim’s left breast was stabbed.

“Iyahang lawas gyud gihigtan og garterized [tire interior]… naa sad sa liog (Her body and neck were tied using a tire interior),” Valleser said.

Police noted that the victim suffered severe bruises all over, especially the face, and that she was beyond recognition. Her relatives were only able to confirm her identity through the short pants she wore.

Police are still awaiting results of the autopsy to determine her immediate cause of death. As of posting time, the police investigation is still ongoing. –

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