CAGAYAN de Oro City–Gingoog City authorities arrested the suspect in the kidnapping of a two-day-old female infant from her mother inside a birthing facility, police said Tuesday.
The suspect was identified as Richard Bernades, male, 20 years old, and resident of Barangay 19, Gingoog.
Bernades allegedly abducted the baby as her mother was sleeping at the puericulture center in Gingoog on Sunday (Sept. 1).
Wearing a face mask, eyewitnesses found it hard to identify the suspect, but a young boy later saw Bernades walking beside the road with the baby placed inside a bag he was carrying.
Gingoog City Police chief Colonel Ariel Pontillas said the suspect must have been pressured to return the baby due to the appeal posted by local authorities on social media.
“The social media was very effective in helping us solve the case, as it was the suspect who voluntarily gave up the child,” Pontillas.
Bernades allegedly put the baby in a secluded area near the house of the couple Rigedor and Nancy Precillas in Barangay 19, Gingoog, who brought the crying infant to the police station, on Monday evening.
Pontillas said Bernades’ claim that he is a hermaphrodite, or a person with both male and female reproductive organs, was unfounded.
“It was his (Bernades) claim that he is a hermaphrodite, but his sister told us that he is not,” he said.
Pontillas said Bernades has admitted to kidnapping the infant as the suspect also confessed that it was his obsession to have a baby.
During the time that the infant was with Bernades, Pontillas said the suspect tried to take care of the baby by feeding her with powdered milk not suited for newborns.
Pontillas said the victims’ mother Marichu Villegas, who delivered the baby on Aug. 30, is keen on filing charges against the suspects, for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
The police chief said Bernades was brought the local court after subjected to inquest proceedings at the city prosecutor’s office.
Pontillas said the suspect is still under their custody and they are waiting for the court to issue a commitment order for his transfer to the city jail.