S'porean once reported missing weds Romanian beau

Ms Cheryl Yap Lay Leng and her mother were reported missing by her father in February 2016. The women had actually gone to Romania to meet Ms Yap's boyfriend, Mr Alexandru Donea.
Ms Cheryl Yap Lay Leng and her mother were reported missing by her father in February 2016. The women had actually gone to Romania to meet Ms Yap's boyfriend, Mr Alexandru Donea.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ CHERYL YAP LAYLENG

It was an online romance that took a dramatic turn with what seemed to be the mysterious disappearance of a Singaporean woman and her mother in Romania.

But the story - which gripped the attention of many - took a heart-warming turn last month.

In February 2016, Ms Cheryl Yap Lay Leng, 27, and her mother, Madam Foo Li Kheng, 63, were reported by her father to be missing for more than 10 days, which resulted in the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking the Romanian authorities for help.

The father, who wanted to be known only as Mr Yap, had not been told of their trip, and was worried that they were victims of a scam, reported Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News.

But more than two years on, Ms Yap and her Romanian boyfriend, Mr Alexandru Donea, 20, have tied the knot.

"After five years of struggling to be together, we have finally made the biggest step towards our future," said Mr Donea in a Facebook post on Sept 27 titled #ForeverTogether.

They had been in a long-distance relationship for over two years before meeting for the first time in February 2016, reported Shin Min.

In Mr Donea's post are also photos of their wedding, which appears to have been held at City Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark, based on a location tag.

On his other Facebook account, which seems to be manga-inspired, he wrote on Sept 28: "Starting today, Cheryl and I are officially husband and wife. Achievement unlocked. #GotMarried #ANewLife #ForeverTogether. Yesterday, it was the sweetest moment of our life, we have been waiting for this since early 2014! But now it has finally happened. Thanks."

Ms Yap left for Romania on the quiet with her mother on Jan 22, 2016, as she thought her father would object, Mr Donea told Romanian media in February 2016.

 
 
 
 

According to Mr Yap, his daughter - an administrative officer at the time - had left for work as usual in the morning before his wife met her for a meal at around 4pm.

However, Mr Yap, 61, a taxi driver at the time, could not contact them after that.

He found out about the trip only from Ms Yap's credit card bill, and said she had left with her four bank passbooks for accounts containing savings of at least $40,000, as well as cash and SG50 commemorative notes, reported Shin Min.

The two could not be contacted for more than 10 days before they appeared on Romanian TV on Feb 2, where Ms Yap said they were staying with Mr Donea at his parents' home in Vulturesti, a village about 150km from capital Bucharest.

When asked by a reporter why she had gone to Romania, Ms Yap replied: "To meet my boyfriend to work together on YouTube."

Mr Donea told Romanian media that they had plans to marry and emigrate to the United States.

In March 2016, Ms Yap and Madam Foo, as well as Mr Donea and his mother were in Singapore, based on Facebook photos of them at a shopping mall.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2018, with the headline 'S'porean once reported missing weds Romanian beau'. Print Edition | Subscribe