CEBU CITY: SOURED CYBER-ROMANCE LEADS TO SUICIDE ATTEMPT

Cebu City, May 9, 2003  --  Cyber-romance gone sour almost cost the life of 
a Cebuana lass.

Aurea Sombilon, a 24-year-old Dalaguete town native, tried to end her life 
by jumping from the fifth floor of the Mercedes Hotel. But electrical power 
lines strung close to the building broke her fall halfway down and she fell 
to the pavement with just enough force to maim but not to kill.

The reason for the suicide attempt: she apparently feared she had lost the 
60-year-old American she first met personally only last May 3.

Passersby and the very man she almost died for, Byron Dean Beatty, an Ohio 
native, rushed Sombilon to the hospital. She sustained head injuries and 
fractures.

Sombilon and Beatty first got to know each other last August through the 
Internet.

Romance blossomed between the two from frequent online chatting, and the 
smitten American decided to come and marry her.

Beatty arrived in Cebu last Sunday and checked in at the Mercedes Hotel. A 
wedding was promptly set for May 17.

With a life ahead as husband and wife foremost in their minds, Beatty and 
Sombilon decided to open a joint bank account, a move which led to the 
near-fatal turn of events.

Asked for any identification by bank personnel, Sombilon produced postal 
and school ID cards. The school card showed that she was enrolled in a 
college course. But when pressed for details, she reportedly admitted 
having finished only Grade 6.

Rendered suspicious by the contradictory information, Beatty decided to 
postpone the opening of the joint bank account.

Instead, they decided to go back to Beatty’s hotel room where he began to 
grill her about the veracity of her conflicting educational background.

Police investigator Juan Osmeña Jr. said a knock on the door eventually 
silenced the argument.

But when Beatty found no one through the peephole, he flung the door open 
and stormed out. Osmeña said Sombilon apparently interpreted that as the 
end of their affair.

Osmeña said the despondent Sombilon then took a chair, clambered up through 
the window and flung herself into the air.

At about this time, Beatty was making his way downstairs. Upon reaching the 
lobby, the front desk staffers were all abuzz with the news of a woman who 
had fallen from the fifth floor.

Attracted by the gathering crowd, Beatty rushed out, only to find out that 
the subject of all that commotion was Sombilon.

Regaining consciousness at the hospital, Sombilon squelched speculations 
that the American threw her out of the window, but said Beatty was the 
cause of it all.

"Siyay hinungdan (He’s the reason)," she told police.

Police nevertheless took Beatty for questioning to check on his 
background.  (Philippine Star)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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