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Father kills 2 kids, self

Two children were supposed to celebrate their birthdays together on Monday.

Instead Christoph Von Borstel, 10, and half sister Christy Mae Tabal, 5, were found dead inside their apartment on Escario Street, Cebu City.

Police said the children appear to have been suffocated by plastic bags placed around their heads.

The girl’s father, Felix Ortiz, was found hanging by his neck in the room.

Police are looking into the possibility that jealousy drove Ortiz to kill the children before committing suicide inside Room 211 of The Apartelle Suites in the Cebu Capitol Commercial Complex, Barangay (village) Camputhaw.

The children's mother, Bernardita Borstel, who arrived from Germany on December 27, found the bodies in the locked apartment. She had to ask the apartment manager to open the door with a spare key.

Ortiz, 35, a mechanical engineer had broken up with Bernardita, a widow, two years ago but the 38-year-old Cebuana continued to send financial support for their little daughter from Germany.

Ortiz arrived in Cebu from Surigao with Christy Mae on New Year’s Eve to meet Bernardita. They had not seen her since she left for Germany after the breakup.

Bernardita arrived in Cebu with Christoph, her son from her late German husband.

Senior Police Officer 2 Jay Yballe, Cebu City police homicide investigator, said Bernardita, who has German citizenship, would come home to Cebu often to visit her parents who live in the mountain barangay of Guba, Cebu City.

Bernardita had a relationship with Ortiz after her husband died but they never married. They had a daughter, Christy Mae, who was left in the care of her father when Bernardita went back to Germany.

Yballe said Ortiz and Bernardita planned to hold a double birthday celebration on Monday for the children.

Christy Mae turned five a few days ago, while Monday was Christoph's 10th birthday.

“It was supposed to be a joint celebration. But this happened,” Yballe said.

Bernardita said she left the Apartelle Suites about 7 p.m. on Sunday to visit her ailing mother in Guba. She came back about 7 a.m. on Monday but found the door of the apartment locked.

No one answered when she knocked.

Bernardita’s elder brother, Isabelo Tabal, called up relatives and they asked the management of the apartelle to open the door.

Inside, they found Ortiz hanging from a nylon cord tied by the window. The two children were found dead on the bed.

Police said the children may have been killed late Sunday evening, while Ortiz hanged himself early Monday morning.

An autopsy, however, would yield clearer answers.

There was no sign of a struggle inside the apartment. Neither did police find a suicide letter.

Yballe said Bernardita was in a state of shock and only told police the motive could be about personal matters.

Yballe said the police’s initial theory was Ortiz killed the two kids in a jealous rage over Bernardita’s decision to end their relationship and then hanged himself.

Although there were talks that Bernardita had a German companion in coming to Cebu, Yballe said the police could not confirm that.

Bernardita's sister-in-law Delia Tabal said Ortiz had asked Bernardita to stay in the Philippines but she refused and told him to look for another woman.

Another relative, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said Ortiz could have been jealous after learning that Bernardita was in a relationship with another German who accompanied her to Cebu and was staying in another hotel.

Yballe said Bernardita told police that the last time she talked with Ortiz was about 7 p.m. on Sunday. There was no forewarning he would do this, she said.

She also told police that she and Ortiz did not argue and there was nothing out of the ordinary when she left the apartment that night.

Bernardita has German citizenship. She was married to a German — the father of Christoph — who had died.

When she went back to Cebu, Bernardita met and got into a relationship with Ortiz. The two had daughter Christy Mae but Bernardita left for Germany again, where she lived until she returned on December 27 supposedly to see her daughter whom she had not seen in two years.

Bernardita’s elder brother Isabelo Tabal, 43, said Ortiz was a good and quiet man.

While the two had broken up, Bernardita continued to send money to Ortiz for Christy Mae. She also bought a house and a lot for Ortiz in Surigao, said Isabelo.

Like his wife Delia, Isabelo said he too believed that jealousy might be motive in the killings. (Cebu Daily News)

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