La Trinidad, Benguet (Apr. 27) — After almost a week of hugging the headlines and being the subject of a man-hunt, Juan Dontogan, tagged by police as the primary suspect in the killing of US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell surrendered to authorities Friday afternoon.
Indeed her mother, Jane, who promised on Wednesday to authorities she would bring in his son to clear his name surrendered the suspect 3:20 that afternoon.
Dontogan, 25, is now under the custody of the Ifugao police headquarters in Banaue, the town where Campbell went missing on April 8 and was later found dead ten days after.
“His surrender is good so it will shed light on the killing,” hailed Cordillera police spokesman Supt. Joseph Adnol who earlier claimed that they were readying charges against Dontogan though circumstantial because forensic evidence linking him are yet to be established.
“Hopefully, he will reveal the truth so that justice will be achieved,” added Adnol.
Every law enforcement agency in the Cordillera region combed the region’s every nook and cranny especially Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet to yield Dontogan, Adnol said.
Intelligence agents had been all eyes for Dontogan, a wood carver, who accordingly either hid in Asin road, in Baguio City, a known woodcarving community of the Ifugaos or his family’s house in Cruz, La Trinidad, Benguet.
A P500,000 reward was also flaunted by the US Embassy on top of P50,000 Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Raul Gonzales offered to Dontogan’s mother if she could surrender his son.
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Cordillera chief Sr. Supt. Eduardo Bayangos though was insistent that they had no airtight case versus Dontogan except for circumstantial evidence that a 13-year old boy saw a man with Campbell’s backpack fleeing.
Authorities later on allegedly found a piece of wood in Dontogan’s house in Battad, a denim pant, and Campbell’s camera. These were brought for forensic examination but experts on Thursday found no evidence positively linking him to the alleged murder.
Adnol had also said that even with the circumstantial evidence, they were ready to file murder or homicide raps versus Dontogan.
Bayangos said they could have only invited Dontogan for questioning although no case was filed against him.
The CIDG official said that while authorities were combing Baguio and La Trinidad and all possible lairs of Dontogan, he was just there in Ifugao.
Bayangos said as of press time, Dontogan has admitted killing Campbell but it could not constitute anything yet because no lawyer is assisting him as of now. “Magulo pa utak eh,” said Bayangos quoting Ifugao CIDG agents questioning him.
Earlier, police even considered him a possible witness because they have also thought of a second suspect. # Ace Alegre for NORDIS