Foster mother named suspect in Bali murder

Engeline Megawe's body was found buried in the garden of her Bali home. She was last seen playing in front of the house. Her adoptive mother has been named a suspect in her brutal murder.
Engeline Megawe's body was found buried in the garden of her Bali home. She was last seen playing in front of the house. Her adoptive mother has been named a suspect in her brutal murder.PHOTO: FIND ANGELINE/FACEBOOK

Police say evidence points to her role in brutal killing of eight-year-old girl

JAKARTA - Bali police have named the adoptive mother a suspect in the brutal murder of an eight-year-old girl last month, in a case that has gripped Indonesia.

Margriet Christine Megawe, who has already been named a suspect for child neglect, was yesterday accused of involvement in the killing of her adopted daughter, Engeline Megawe.

"For the time being, Megawe is the main suspect," Bali's police chief, Inspector-General Ronny Franky Sompie, said.

He said the decision was based on evidence presented by expert witnesses from the Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar, Bali police's forensic laboratory and the National Police.

Police said earlier that they used the latest technology to identify fingerprints on the body in order to identify the suspected killer.

"That (technology) is for revealing the identity from their fingerprints," said the head of the National Police Fingerprints Identification System Centre, Brigadier-General Bekti Suhartono, Antara news agency reported last week.

Police said yesterday that they would be questioning Megawe again yesterday and today to find the motive.

A former domestic helper at Megawe's home, Agustinus "Agus" Tai Hamdamai, told the police during interrogation last week that Engeline had been murdered by Megawe in her room on May 16.

He said he heard Engeline shouting to Megawe to let her go, a few minutes before he was called to her bedroom. He saw the girl lying on the floor lifeless, Tempo news reported on Sunday.

Agustinus, himself a suspect in the case, claimed that Megawe ordered him to bury Engeline's body in the garden, and that she had promised him 200 million rupiah (S$20,000) for doing so.

Police found Engeline's body in the garden on June 10.

She was last seen playing in front of her adoptive mother's house in Sanur in Denpasar, Bali. The family had reported her missing, leading to a frantic public search.

Engeline's biological mother, Madam Hamidah, who was from East Java, was distraught upon seeing her child's body at Sanglah General Hospital last week.

"Who killed you, child? Why were you killed? Your mother cannot accept that you are treated like that," she was quoted as saying by kompas.com.

"Mr Policeman, go and capture the killer of my daughter, sir. Sentence them to death," she said.

A relative of the victim - named only as Mr Supri - said Engeline was adopted by Megawe when she was three days old.

Madam Hamidah was prohibited from meeting her daughter after the adoption based on an agreement between her and Megawe, he said.

THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2015, with the headline 'Foster mother named suspect in Bali murder'. Print Edition | Subscribe