Singapore

Man charged with murdering teen who went missing 13 years ago

Lasalle college student, 19, was last seen with accused and another schoolmate at Marine Terrace in 2007

More than 13 years after a teenage girl went missing, sparking a massive search for her, a man has been charged with her murder.

Miss Felicia Teo, 19, a final-year student at Lasalle College of the Arts, was last seen at Marine Terrace on June 30, 2007.

Despite a search that extended across the Causeway and desperate pleas from her family and friends for information on her whereabouts, Miss Teo was never found.

Even up to the middle of this year, the police continued to work on her case in the hope of finding leads on her possible whereabouts.

When there was none, the cases were referred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for a fresh review.

Then, in a shocking twist, the police said yesterday that preliminary investigations had revealed Miss Teo was killed and her body disposed of even before her mother reported her missing on July 3, 2007.

They said in a statement that a 35-year-old suspect was arrested on Tuesday in relation to the case and the search for Miss Yeo's remains was ongoing.

The authorities are understood to be combing an area in the north-east of the island.

Yesterday afternoon, Ahmad Danial Mohamed Rafa'ee, 35, was charged with Miss Teo's murder in a 10th-storey unit at Block 19 Marine Terrace between 1.39am and 7.20am on June 30, 2007.

The bespectacled Ahmad Danial, who has long hair and pierced ears, was in handcuffs when he appeared in court via video-link. He had no expression when the charge was read out to him.

He has been remanded for investigations and will return to court on Thursday next week.

An elderly woman and two children believed to be related to him were in the courtroom.

Ahmad Danial had allegedly murdered Miss Teo with another man, Ragil Putra Setia Sukmarahjana, now 32, according to court documents.

The police said Ragil Putra Setia is still at large.

He is believed to have recently been photographed in Indonesia. The New Paper understands that international law enforcement has been notified.

His social media accounts were deactivated yesterday afternoon, soon after news broke online of Ahmad Danial's murder charge.

After Miss Teo vanished, more than 200 people, comprising family, friends and members of the public, searched in vain for her in Singapore and Johor at one point.

Conducting extensive investigations, the police established that she was last seen at the Marine Terrace flat, which was then registered as the address of Ragil Putra Setia's brother.

It was reported at the time that she was seen on surveillance footage taking the lift up to the unit, but there was no footage of her leaving the block.

It was assumed she could have walked down the stairs despite the unit being on the highest level of the block.

Ahmad Danial and Ragil Putra Setia, who were also students at Lasalle, were friends with Miss Teo, based on their online profiles.

The police said the two men told them in an interview in 2007 that Miss Teo had left the flat on her own in the wee hours of June 30.

As there was no indication of foul play, the case was classified as a missing person case, and a property gazette was issued for items believed to be in Miss Teo's possession when she went missing.

NOTIFICATION

The items included a mobile phone, a laptop and a digital camera. Once gazetted, if any of the items were to surface at a second-hand dealer or at a lost-and-found, it would trigger a notification to the police.

The breakthrough came when the CID uncovered new leads while tracing the properties listed in the gazette, which led to Ahmad Danial's arrest.

CID director, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police How Kwang Hwee, said yesterday: "I would like to commend the investigators for their hard work and determination to solve the case.

"The investigators managed to uncover new leads to throw light on what might have happened to the victim, identify the suspect and arrested him."

If convicted of murder, Ahmad Danial could face the death penalty.

COURT & CRIME