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American found dead at NBI cell

CEBU, Philippines — A 42-year-old American who was accused of pedophilia was found dead inside the restroom of the detention cell of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

NBI-7 Director Patricio Bernales Jr. said they found Jesse Phinney lifeless at 6:40 a.m. yesterday. Phinney reportedly hanged himself using his belt.

“Incidentally, very early this morning, nadiskobre siya nga lifeless na, according to our medico-legal,” Bernales said.

Quoting the investigating agent, Bernales said they were surprised why Phinney took his own life because he could have posted bail to get out of prison while his case is being heard. He was also cooperative during investigation.

The  NBI arrested Phinney following a report from the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC).

Authorities rescued an eight-year-old girl at his apartment in Talisay City and found dolls and teddy bears clad in bikinis. They also confiscated mobile phones, a tablet, laptop, hard drive, a high-end camera, and lenses.

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Among the pieces of evidence NBI holds is a photograph of a men’s room, which has a cabinet filled with clothes for little girls.

The child rescued is now with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“Okay ra ang bata but you cannot judge the impact sa bata (just by looking at her),” Bernales said.

A driver’s license states that Phinney is from Los Angeles, California but NBI investigation revealed he is from Massachusetts.

Phinney reportedly frequented the Philippines, as well as other Third World countries like Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

“The cellphone in his possession, last night, daghan kaayog picture sa mga bata, lain-lain nga nationalities,” Bernales said.

With the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the NBI is investigating Phinney was involved in cyberpornography victimizing children. — with Ashlee Marzon (FREEMAN)

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