A WOMAN who was found hanging in her room yesterday dawn was believed to have killed herself until her six-year-old son told policeit was her lover who killed her in Upper Bonbonan, Barangay Labangon, Cebu City.

Romeo “Jesse” Quijano Castro, 52, was arrested in his house in the same barangay at past 9 a.m. yesterday. He denied he killed Scarlet Ventic Debalucos, 30.

“I’m not a criminal. That’s impossible,” Castro told reporters.

An initial investigation led by SPO2 Rommel Bancog showed that Scarlet was arguing with Castro in her room when the man allegedly hit her with his hand. Scarlet fainted.

Scarlet’s son Kirst, who is six, saw how his stepfather grabbed the nylon rope of a hammock and tied it around his mother’s neck.

Later in another room, Scarlet’s cousin, Hutsh Jesus Roque, woke up when he heard the boy crying in the room he shared with his mother at 3:45 a.m.

Hanging

When Roque, 27, found his cousin hanging, he called Scarlet’s mother from her room, untied the rope from the victim’s neck and brought Scarlet to Cebu City Medical Center, where a physician confirmed her death.

Insp. Arieza Otida, Women and Children’s Protection Desk chief of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said their initial investigation confirmed that the boy is a “credible witness.”

“We learned that what happened was not a suicide but could be murder,” Otida said.

She noted that because the son witnessed such “cruelty,” he will undergo a stress debriefing by the Cebu City Department of Social Welfare and Services. He will be joined by his two siblings.

A relative of the victim identified only as Elsie, 42, said they are determined to file a murder complaint against Castro.

Relatives

Elsie said that from the beginning, Scarlet’s relatives did not like Castro because the latter has a family.

Castro was arrested yesterday in the house he shared with his legal wife and child in the same barangay.

“Castro was always jealous,” Elsie said.

Castro said he had no idea about Scarlet’s death until he was awakened by his child because some policemen were looking for him at 9:45 a.m.

“I asked why. They told me Scarlet committed suicide. I was surprised. Why?” Castro said.

Castro said it must have been triggered by Scarlet’s addiction to illegal drugs. He said Scarlet tried to commit suicide before.

“She had done it before, especially when I failed to text her at a certain time; she would threaten me that I would regret it someday,’” Castro said.

Castro and Scarlet had been lovers for two years. They lived together for a year until Castro returned to his wife again.

He said he last met Scarlet last Sunday noon in a lottery outlet to give her the P500 she asked from him.

Seen

Elsie, however, said Castro was seen by witnesses entering the house of Scarlet yesterday dawn.

The Cebu City’s Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) will take temporary custody of Scarlet’s children.

DSWS chief Ester Concha said CCPO asked their office to counsel the children.

Concha said they will conduct a stress debriefing on the four children, ages 2, 6, 7 and 13.

If no one will take care of them from their immediate family, Concha said, they will be taken in temporarily by one of the centers in the City.

DSWS also has given stress debriefing to three children in Barangay Lahug whose father killed himself after killing their mother.

Right now, Concha said, the children, ages 4, 11 and 13 are under the custody of their grandmother.