Girl's remains found in Chin Swee flat: Toddler allegedly murdered by her parents five years ago
Couple charged in court after daughter's remains were found in Chin Swee Road flat last week
The toddler whose remains were found in a Chin Swee Road flat last week was allegedly murdered by her parents five years ago.
Yesterday, the couple were charged in court with the murder of their daughter, who was 2½ years old at the time, sometime in March 2014, in an eighth-storey rental unit at Block 52.
The two accused, both Singaporeans, cannot be named due to a gag order to protect their other children. They were expressionless when they appeared in court briefly yesterday for the charges to be read out.
The girl's remains were found in the one-room flat on Sept 10 after the police responded to a call for assistance.
The remains, which had been burned, were inside a metal pot, according to previous reports.
A neighbour told The New Paper a strong smell had lingered in the corridor for two weeks before the police were alerted.
The couple are believed to be registered occupants of the flat, The Straits Times reported.
The police said on Monday that they had been remanded since June last year for unrelated offences.
Court documents said the father, 31, faces three pending charges - one for rioting and two for drug-related offences.
In February last year, he allegedly failed to return to a community supervision centre after being granted leave to work at a food supplies company from November 2017 to April last year.
He is also accused of rioting together with four others by punching, kicking and using a helmet to hit another man in front of Golden Mile Food Centre in April last year.
The man also allegedly consumed methamphetamine two months later. He had been sent to the drug rehabilitation centre previously for consuming the same drug in 2011 and 2016.
His wife, 30, was sentenced earlier this month to five years and two months in jail on three counts of drug-related offences and one of theft.
Central Narcotics Bureau officers raided her home and found six packets of methamphetamine in June last year.
The previous day, she had placed some drugs inside a shoe box in her home and given some to a man who went to her flat.
The woman also stole items worth about $1,400 from an acquaintance.
The items were found in her home after the victim made a police report.
Marriage records show that the couple got married in June 2012. The wife previously married a man, 29, in July 2007 when she was 18. It is not clear when they were divorced.
A Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) spokesman yesterday said the couple have other children, who are under stable alternative care arrangements.
"MSF will continue to provide the necessary support to ensure the children's safety and welfare," she said.
The couple have been remanded at Central Police Division and will return to court next Tuesday.
If convicted of murder, the couple will face the gallows or be jailed for life. The father can also be caned.
When TNP went to their flat yesterday, a bouquet of flowers and a note written by Venerable Shi Fa Rong were left outside the unit.
Venerable Shi, who went to the flat a few days ago, said on Facebook he returned yesterday morning to offer flowers to the deceased girl.
"I feel very sad. I have been crying and commiserating with the helpless baby girl... Praying that she can rest in peace," he wrote in Chinese.
A neighbour on the same level, who wanted to be known only as Madam Wong, told TNP that the couple were living there with children when she moved in nine years ago.
Madam Wong, who is in her 60s, said the family kept to themselves and did not have visitors during festive periods.
A 17th-storey resident, who wanted to known only as Mr Wong, said news of the murder came as a shock.
The retiree, 62, said: "No one here mixes with one another. If you just take a look down the corridors, you will notice all the doors are closed all the time.
"I feel scared and am more cautious now. How could something like this happen here and go unnoticed for five years?"
Ms Fion Phua, 49, who founded Keeping Hope Alive, a volunteer group that regularly visits the block, said she remembers meeting the woman and her children in 2013.
She told TNP that two families were living in the unit at the time - a young couple with three children, two of the couple's siblings, including a 14-year-old boy, and three other young children.
"I feel heartbroken because we have seen the children before, bought them food to eat, and gave them books and bags to use," she said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KOK YUFENG, DANIEL BURGESS & HIDAYAH ISKANDAR