An 8-year-old girl has been rescued in the Philippines after she was allegedly kidnapped and carted through the street stuffed in a suitcase.
The girl was returning home around noon on Thursday from buying a soda at her aunt’s Cebu Island grocery when she was snatched and stuffed into the black case, police told Sunstar.com.
Her mom, Tyree Lanny Rendal, raised the alarm hours later when she got home and could not find her daughter, the outlet said.
She then checked her apartment building’s security video — and saw the hooded man wheeling away the luggage, the outlet said.
After a huge, frantic search, police eventually found the girl at a boarding house less than half a mile from her home in the district of Bakilid in Mandaue City, Manilla Bulletin said.
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Amazingly, she was largely unharmed, except for minor scratches on her hands, feet and mouth from allegedly being bound with duct tape.
Cops arrested 32-year-old Godiflor Rama, who worked for more than a year as the caretaker of the apartment where the girl and her family lived.
Rama reportedly admitted to the kidnapping but tried to excuse his actions by claiming that he did it to teach the child’s grandparents a lesson after a feud.
“I hope the family can forgive me for what I did,” the suspect told local reporters, according to The Daily Mail, which identified the girl as Jin Nichole You.
“I only did that because they were accusing me of stealing their belongings, like their bags and hangers.”
Rama said he did not zip the suitcase all the way up so the girl could breathe inside — and denied sexually assaulting her while she was his captive.
“I admit that the girl is attractive, but that doesn’t mean that I like her. I did not rape her,” he told the media.
“I fed her and let her play games,” he reportedly said, maintaining that he intended to return the child to her family after 6 hours.
The 8-year-old kidnapping survivor has since been reunited with her mother, who thanked the police for swiftly rescuing her daughter from the clutches of her kidnapper.
“I couldn’t imagine that this kind of thing would happen to us,” the woman said of the harrowing ordeal.