PUNTA GORDA–Five days after her gruesome death, Punta Gorda police, with the aid of unrelenting villagers, captured a 24-year-old resident of San Pedro Columbia, a village in the Toledo District, who was wanted in connection with the murder of villager Agripina Coc, 61, whose nude body was found in some bushes near her home with a large chop wound to the center of the head this past Saturday, August 30, at around 7:30 p.m.
At about 10:00 a.m. today, the suspect, dressed only in boxer shorts, was detained; the clothing was the same clothing that he reportedly was wearing when he was last seen traversing the area where Coc had been murdered this past weekend.
The young man was pinpointed as the primary suspect by fellow villagers of San Pedro Columbia, who were convinced that he was the culprit, since he was seen in the area when Coc was murdered, and also, because the residents allege that he was the man who has been harassing women of the village. The suspect has even been accused of sexually assaulting women in the village in the past.
He was captured after police had gotten information that he was sighted in the nearby village of San Marcos, Toledo.
When police arrived in the area, they reportedly observed villagers in hot pursuit of the suspect; they had apparently already gotten word of the man’s whereabouts, after which they teamed up and combed the bushes until he was eventually located.
Earlier this week, we reported that after reaching the conclusion that the 24-year-old may have been Coc’s murderer, the extremely angry residents of San Pedro Columbia set out on an intensive search for him, and even detained several of his relatives in the process, based on the premise that they had been helping the suspect to elude capture at the time.
Those family members were eventually released due to the intervention of Punta Gorda police, who deemed their detention as unlawful.
This morning, however, the suspect’s reign of freedom came to an end when he was caught between Miles 12 and 13 on the Southern Highway and later taken to the Punta Gorda Police Station pending charges.
This afternoon, Superintendent Simeon Alvarez, the Officer Commanding Punta Gorda police, told us that the individual has been cooperating with law enforcement officials, and has in fact confessed to the brutal murder.
Police also hope to recover the weapon which was used to kill the elderly housewife, but in the meantime, they are reportedly waiting to gather additional evidence against the suspect before he is charged.
There were also allegations that the suspect, who villagers claim was a known troublemaker in the community, was mentally challenged; however, Superintendent Alvarez has since confirmed that he appears to be of sound mind.
Agripina Coc left her home after midday last Saturday to visit a friend and make a trip to the local store, but when she failed to return home hours after, her husband, who later alerted other villagers of her disappearance, launched a search of the village, during which they discovered her lifeless body. Coc, who was known as a peaceful Christian woman, had been dumped in an area about 10 feet away from the main road at the southern entrance of San Pedro Columbia.
Prior to her murder, Coc had reportedly informed her family that she was being stalked by the young man, which led men from the village to arm themselves with sticks and machetes before going on an all-out manhunt for the suspect, who was not located until today, Thursday.