PNP: Severed head belongs to Canadian Robert Hall

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A DNA test has confirmed the beheading of Canadian Robert Hall by the Abu Sayyaf group, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday.

“The head that was recovered from Sulu is indeed that of Mr. Robert Hall,” said Chief Supt. Emmanuel Aranas, director of the PNP crime laboratory.

Related: AFP: Severed head believed to be ASG hostage found in Jolo

Aranas said the Canadian government provided the PNP with a copy of Hall’s DNA profile. He said it matched with the tissue samples taken from the decapitated head.

The crime lab completed the tests soon after it received the DNA profile and released its report last Friday, Aranas said.

After the death certificate was issued, the PNP immediately transferred custody of the severed head to the Canadian Embassy, Aranas said.

He said he is unaware if the severed head is still in the Philippines or if it has been brought home to Canada.

Also read: Trudeau: Canada will not give in to 'fear-mongering tactics'

Hall's body has not been found more than a week since he was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf group.

Aranas said they will conduct the same DNA tests once a headless body is recovered.

Naghihintay pa rin po kami at ganun din ang gagawin namin to identify the body,” he said.

[Translation: “We are still waiting and we will do the same procedure to identify the body.”]

Maj. Filemon Tan, spokesman for the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said authorities found the head of a Caucasian male in front of a church in Jolo, Sulu, on June 13, hours after the Abu Sayyaf decapitated Hall because no ransom was paid to spare his life. The militants were demanding P300 million pesos.

Hall was abducted from a resort on Samal Island in September 2015, along with fellow Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Tess Flor.

Ridsdel was beheaded last April 25 while Sekkingstad and Flor remain in the hands of the ASG.

Also read: Family of beheaded Abu Sayyaf hostage backs Canada's ransom policy