THE 12-year-old girl who was reported missing last March 1 was found dead over the weekend in Casisang, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
She was believed to have been raped before she was killed.
Police identified the victim as Janice Bahenting, a grade six pupil of Natid-asan Elementary School in Casisang.
Authorities found the victim's body lying on the ground without lower undergarment in Patulangan, Sitio Kibarok, Barangay Casisang. Her face was smashed beyond recognition.
Initial investigation revealed that prior to the incident, the victim was reported missing around 5:45 p.m. of March 1.
Later on that day, her belongings, a sky blue short pants and a pair of blue slippers were unearthed on the road near their house.
The police said witnesses positively identified the owner of the short pants and slippers as Generoso Talirongan.
Talirongan and Jose Ramil Quilobe, who worked as miners, were arrested on March 2 in Sitio Mabuhay, San Jose, Malaybalay City. They were detained at the Malaybalay police station.
Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Northern Mindanao, said investigators are still waiting for the medical report on the victim from the provincial crime laboratory office of Bukidnon.
But Gonda said investigators have initially found indications that the victim was sexually assaulted before she was killed.
The suspects will likely face kidnapping and rape with homicide charges.