BRISBANE - The Indonesian who was killed, chopped up and cooked by her Australian chef husband, was a transsexual who used to work at a Melbourne cabaret show and paid for her sisters’ education back home.
Mayang Prasetyo, 27, was the sole breadwinner of her family in Lampung, Indonesia, and sent money home to support the family, including putting her two sisters, aged 18 and 15, through school.
Her mother Nining Sukarni told the Courier Mail that she was devastated at the loss of her eldest child. “He put the sisters through school,” she said.
Daily Mail Australia reported that online advertisements showed Prasetyo charged up to A$500 (S$558) for her services as an “international escort”. Another report in Brisbane Times said she worked at Melbourne transgender cabaret show Le Femme Garcon before settling in Brisbane with her husband Marcus Volke, 28.
Sukarni told the Courier Mail that her daugher was “fine” when they last spoke on Thursday. The couple visited Indonesia last year and Volke seemed “quiet” and “submissive” and had just started working in a Brisbane restaurant, the mother said.
The couple, who met on an international cruise ship, got married in August 2013 and Prasetyo moved to Brisbane to be with Volke. But she had complained of being “bored” and wanted to return home to Bali where they owned a home, said the mother.
The couple had recently moved into the apartment in Teneriffe, the Queensland capital's inner city, according to reports. Police were called in after neighbours complained of a foul smell from the apartment.
They found parts of Prasetyo’s body strewn across the apartment and some had been cooked up by Volke on a stove. Other parts of her body were found in garbage bins outside the apartment, said the reports.
Police said Volke fled through a glass door and leapt over a balcony when detectives arrived at his flat and hid in an alleyway where he killed himself.
Residents reported hearing loud arguments coming from the couple’s home recently.
A resident, Courtney Reichart, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that she first noticed the smell on Wednesday and it got worse each day.
"The smell, it was like as if somebody had put out some dog food or red meat and left it out for a few days,’’ she said.
"It makes you feel sick that that poor girl sat there for however many days and we've been walking past, living our lives and thinking 'hmmm what's that smell', but you don't put two and two together.
"You don't think that a bad smell equals a murder."
Volke’s mother Dorothy told Courier Mail that she had spoken with her son just a week before and he seemed “normal”.
“He was happy and he was coming home for Christmas, everything was normal,” she told the Courier Mail. The family lives in Ballarat, Victoria.
“He’d been on a ship, going from one country to another. They hadn’t been in Brisbane for very long, only a few months. They were starting to get settled.”
Mrs Volke said that although her son seemed normal when she spoke to him on the phone, she hadn’t seen him in person for about 18 months.
“We didn’t know what was going on,” she said.
Courier Mail quoted friends of Prasetyo as saying they had concerns about Volke, saying he was quiet, difficult to get to know and was “extremely cold”.
Prasetyo’s friends have taken to social media to pay tribute to her.
"Rip (rest in peace) beautiful, the world will not be the same without you. I will miss you so much I couldn't possibly express it in words,” wrote Brett Sparks.
"I still remember the day I met you and the impression you made on me. Nobody that met you could ever forget you. This really doesn't seem real."