THREE suspects in the killing of a 17-year-old student in Lapu-Lapu City are now facing murder charges four years after the incident.

Arnel Pura, supervising agent of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Mandaue City District Office, told reporters that a complaint of murder was filed on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, against Markjun Ponce, the principal suspect in the killing of Richard Caravana Jr.

Pura said aside from Ponce, his two cohorts, namely Renante Santo and Renato Banal (not their real names), who allegedly helped Ponce in carrying out the crime, were also included in the complaint.

He said Ponce is currently detained at the Lapu-Lapu City Jail for another murder case, while the two others remain at large.

The supervising agent said it took them almost three months to build up the case since an informant tipped him off about the incident, and he now considered the case solved.

Pura said Caravana’s family, who long believed that their son was dead, expressed their gratitude towards their office for rendering justice.

“Imagine, for four years, wala na-locate ang ilang anak (their son was not located). By God’s grace, naay niabot nga information, nakarender ta’g justice (we received information and we were able to render justice),” Pura said.

The NBI agents were able to discover the skeletal remains of Caravana because of the informant.

Pura said Caravana, who was a resident of Barangay Gabi in the town of Cordova, was murdered on Jan. 1, 2017 in Sitio Bunga in Barangay Agus, Lapu-Lapu City.

He said Ponce, who was the leader of a local gang in the city, was reportedly accused of theft by Caravana, who was then a member of Ponce’s group.

Further investigation revealed that Caravana died after having been stabbed several times in the chest and after the drug-crazed suspect smashed a block of rock on his head.

The victim was then buried in a knee-deep pit in the secluded area where he was killed.

Pura said the incident and whereabouts of the victim were kept secret for quite some time, as Ponce had allegedly threatened several witnesses that they may experience the same fate as Caravana should they report the matter to the authorities.

“In fact, naa tay testigo nga gikuha pa nato sa Pampanga (we have a witness we fetched from Pampanga) because, out of fear of the suspect, nidagan siya padung didto (he fled there). We were able to trace him, and we supported his logistics and convinced him to come and testify against the suspect,” he said.

Pura said this is the first major case they have handled so far since they formally opened their office Monday, Jan. 17.