The university and its community received shocking news on September 15, as it was reported and later confirmed that freshman student Karen Kaye Montebon, 17, had been murdered in her own home in Lapu-Lapu on the same day.
News of Montebon’s death was met with an outpouring of outrage and condolences on social media, where fellow Carolinians and other mourners shared the hashtag #JusticeForKarenMontebon. However, it also gave rise to many exaggerated and outright false reports surrounding the circumstances of her death, such as her hands and feet being cut off.
The victim’s body was discovered under her own bed by her father at 5:00 p.m. and transferred to Mactan Doctor’s Hospital. A time of death has not been established, but Montebon was not seen attending her 10:30 class at the university’s Downtown Campus on the day of the incident.
The victim’s body was transferred from the Mactan Doctor’s Hospital to the Mandaue branch of St. Peter’s Chapel. It was then brought to the chapel’s main branch in Imus, Cebu, to be properly identified and autopsied.
The autopsy was carried out the morning of Sept. 16. When reached for comment, representatives from St. Peter’s Imus pinpointed the cause of death as asphyxiation by manual strangulation. A wire from a hair straightener was found wrapped around the victim’s neck. In addition to this, multiple bruises were found all over the victim’s body.
According to St. Peter’s, the victim was raped before being killed. Full penetration did not occur, but the victim’s genitals were lacerated and her underwear stained with blood upon being found.
Montebon, a freshman student in BS Accounting at the university, turned 17 three weeks before her death.
St. Peter’s has stated that the complete autopsy report will not be ready until Sept. 28.