SINGAPORE - A team of lawyers has been engaged to represent a man accused of Ms Felicia Teo Wei Ling's murder in 2007, a district court heard on Thursday (Dec 24).
Lawyer Shashi Nathan of Withers KhattarWong told the court that he and his team - Ms Tania Chin and Ms Laura Yeo - will be defending Ahmad Danial Mohamed Rafa'ee. The case has been adjourned to Dec 31.
Ahmad, now 35, is accused of murdering Ms Teo, 19, at a Marine Terrace flat in the wee hours of June 30, 2007.
The Singaporean is said to have committed the offence with another man, Ragil Putra Setia Sukmarahjana, now 32.
Ragil is still at large and the two men were believed to be friends with Ms Teo.
It was not mentioned in court if the authorities have found Ms Teo’s remains.
Offenders convicted of murder will face the death sentence.
Ms Teo's disappearance in 2007 made headlines when her family and friends refused to believe the teenager had run away.
She had left her home in Bras Basah on June 29 that year, and that was the last time her parents saw her. Closed-circuit television footage later showed her entering a lift in a Marine Terrace housing block with two men.
Ms Teo was never seen or heard from again.
Her mother then lodged a missing persons police report on July 3, 2007.
Officers began investigating and they initially classified Ms Teo’s disappearance as a missing persons case. This was because they did not find any facts linking the two men to her disappearance.
The men had earlier told officers that Ms Teo left the flat on her own accord.
Her friends and family then conducted their own search and more than 200 people became involved in the effort in 2007.
Meanwhile, the police continued regularly reviewing the case until this year.
The case was referred to the Criminal Investigation Department in July this year and officers then managed to uncover new leads.
They arrested Ahmad on Dec 15 and he was charged with murder in a district court two days later.
In a post on Facebook on Monday, a friend of Ms Teo paid a touching tribute to the arts student who vanished 13 years ago.
The woman, who only wanted to be known as Ms S, shared snippets on her Facebook page of their friendship, including how they dealt with a former boyfriend of hers and played truant from school together.
Ms S also wrote that she and Ms Teo had disliked each other initially but became "sisters from different families".
"People used to ask, 'How did you both become best friends?' Our answer would always be, 'We didn't like each other at first.' We'd say, 'She's too ah lian' or 'she's too minah.' But, we somehow became friends and got stuck with each other," she added.
"You were the brave one, always fiercely protecting me when you saw the need for it."
When contacted, Ms S told The Straits Times that they met when they joined the canoeing co-curricular activity in Monk's Hill Secondary School.
In her post, Ms S also wrote about promises the pair had made to each other such as Ms Teo being at her wedding and being a godparent to her children.
But Ms Teo disappeared on the eve of the wedding in 2007.
In her post, Ms S recalled her last telephone conversation with her best friend on the evening of June 29.
"You said you were heading out and that you'd see me at home in the morning. I told you to take care and that I couldn't wait to see you and Ana. How was I to know... that would be our last conversation?" she wrote.
"I hope that we can find you soon so that you can be put to rest and be at peace. I love you, forever and always."