KIDAPAWAN CITY - Five-year-old Genevieve (not her real name) was set to be crowned yesterday as the third runner-up in the search for Miss Valentine 2013 in their school here.
Her foster parents were as excited as she was.
They, however, would not see her get the crown.
Genevieve was found dead, about 100 meters away from their home at Sitio Lower Manongol in Barangay Manongol, this city, at around 3 p.m. Wednesday - a day before the coronation day.
Barangay Manongol village chieftain Edgar Gallamos said the victim went missing around noon Wednesday.
Her foster parents, both pastors of a local Protestant Church, together with some of their neighbors, started looking for the child.
"We were surprised to see the child dead in an abandoned house nearby," said Gallamos.
Around 12 midnight on Wednesday, village watchmen, together with some policemen, arrested a 15-year-old boy after he was tagged as the suspect by one of the witnesses.
The minor, who happens to be a friend and a neighbor of the victim, admitted to authorities about the crime, according to Superintendent Joseph Semillano, Kidapawan City Philippine National Police chief.
Semillano, however, has yet to ask confirmation from the Department of Social Welfare and Development if the minor committed the crime "with discernment" before they could confine him in the detention cell.
Semillano cited a provision in the Anti-Juvenile Delinquency Act, which states that "children in conflict with law" cannot be jailed unless he acted with discernment.
Also, he has yet to get the results of the post-mortem examination and autopsy conducted by the Scene of the Crime Operatives before he could publicly declare, with finality, that indeed the victim was first raped before she was killed.
The suspect, identified only by his alias as "Resty," denied that he molested the victim before he hit her head using a wood.
"I don't know what I'm doing. There's no reason killing the girl. But I really don't know why I did it," said Resty in the vernacular.
Resty also denied using illegal drugs.