It’s hard to believe that this case has spanned more than a decade. What started as the missing person-murder case of Felicia Teo is slowly concluding, revealing some sad truths.
On Oct 14, Ahmad Danial Mohamed Rafa’ee, 37, was sentenced to jail for 26 months after admitting to four charges against him.
The charges include unlawfully depositing Teo’s corpse in a public place, dishonestly misappropriating her possessions, giving false evidence to authorities and fabricating false evidence.
The third party involved in the case – and Ahmad’s accomplice, Indonesian Ragil Putra Setia Sukmarahjana – still remains at large.
Ahmad was arrested on Dec 15, 2020 and remanded for 18 months and 12 days till Jun 27, after which he was released on bail. Offenders may be released on remission after serving two-thirds of their sentence and so he is expected to be released soon.
A 13-year disappearance
19-year-old art student Teo went missing on Jun 29, 2007. She was last spotted via surveillance footage of her entering the lift of a Marine Terrace housing block with Ahmad and Ragil, who were believed to be her friends. Her mother filed a missing person report four days later and joined the island-wide search for Teo that involved more than 200 people including family members and friends.
Police looking into Teo’s disappearance at the time did not identify evidence linking Ahmad and Ragil to any foul play. Both Ahmad and Ragil had claimed that Teo left the apartment on her own accord at around 2am.
Thirteen years later, the case was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department in July. Police then said that they found new leads linking Ahmad to one of Teo’s belongings.
Nitty gritty details revealed
In an article in Straits Times, on Jun 30, 2007, Ahmad, Ragil and Teo had gone to Ragil’s house in Marine Terrace after a party at Lasalle where they had studied. The three took ecstasy in the unit and Teo died sometime before 6am due to unknown circumstances, according to Ahmad.
Not wanting to get into legal trouble for drug use, Ahmad and Ragil concocted a plan to get rid of Teo’s body. They first placed her body on a mattress and covered it with another mattress and proceeded to clean the place.
Later that same morning, they deliberately went to East Coast Park and left her phone there to make it seem that she had been to the park. In the evening they visited hardware shops in the area to purchase materials and tools needed to dispose Teo’s body.
She was placed into a carton box which was sealed with tape and then brought to the ground floor by the stairs to avoid surveillance cameras at the lift area. The two of them flagged a taxi and headed to Punggol Track 24 where they dug a hole in the ground, placed the box in it, poured kerosene on it and set it aflame. When the fire died out, they covered back the hole and left.
Teo had left some items in Ragil’s house – a laptop which Ahmad gave to his father and her camera which was either given away or sold.
Maintained the lie for over ten years
When Ahmad and Ragi were questioned about Teo’s disappearance in July 2007, after her mother made a report, they lied about not knowing where she was.
He claimed that she had left the house with her bag after he made a remark about her having “so many guys”.
Initially labelled as a missing person case, police had no leads from 2007 to 2020 but had a breakthrough in 2020 when police managed to trace back Teo’s laptop to Ahmad – beginning the criminal proceedings against him.
The mysterious skull
In June 2010, a human skull was found at Punggol Track 24 but the identity of the skull was unknown then and there were no leads. Ahmad’s arrest in 2020 led the police to search for skeletons in the Punggol area and links were made regarding the skull.
Further DNA testing with reference to Teo’s family members’ DNA proved that the skull most likely belonged to her. No other remains of her body have been recovered since.
“Never found closure”
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang said in court that Ahmad and Ragil’s lies had kept Teo’s family in the dark for more than 13 years and led to a significant wastage of public resources.
In the ST report, DPP Yang said, “The lies meant that Felicia’s family never found closure for so many years, and never found out about Felicia’s death until recently.”
Up till today, only her skull has been recovered.