LANGKAWI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The fate of a three-year-old whose remains were found in a jungle on the holiday island of Langkawi a few days ago was sealed when her mother decided to move in with her lover and his wife.
Langkawi district police chief Mohd Iqbal Ibrahim said initial investigations revealed that the mother - an Indonesian - had known the man for only about a month, as he frequented the eatery where she was working in Penang.
The 37-year-old man kept his affair secret from his wife - a government hospital nurse.
He told his wife that he had brought the single mother into their household to serve as their maid.
Mr Mohd Iqbal said the pair managed to keep their affair secret until end-January, when the wife discovered that her husband was having intimate relations with the single mother.
A heated quarrel ensued and the mother was chased out of the house and ended up staying in a restaurant in Langkawi, where she found work.
But Mr Mohd Iqbal said the toddler, Nur Aisyah Aleya, was not kicked out and continued living with the married couple, who were childless.
"In end-February, the single mother went to their house and found that her daughter was no longer with them.
"They told her Nur Aisyah was given to someone else to care for," he told reporters on Thursday (March 8).
The mother subsequently lodged a report on March 3.
"When we went to investigate, we found that the married couple had left Langkawi, and we quickly create a Nur Alert," said Mr Mohd Iqbal.
Nur Alert is Malaysia's national bulletin when a child is missing. Posters of the missing child are spread on social media and placed in all government agencies and some private institutions like banks.
Police traced the couple and on Tuesday found them at a homestay in Ampang, a town in Kuala Lumpur.
After questioning them, the man led investigators back to Langkawi, and they found the remains of the girl in a ravine.
"Her body was put in a suitcase and thrown into the ravine. We believe she died in mid-February, and by the time we found her, all that was left was her skull and bits of hair.
"The suspects claimed the girl had a seizure in their home while they were having an argument," said Mr Mohd Iqbal.
The man and his wife have been remanded for seven days since Thursday while the authorities investigate the case.