SINGAPORE: A 34-year-old Filipino domestic worker found dead in a field along Tampines Road last year was likely killed by her husband, the State Coroner found on Tuesday (Aug 27).
The man, who was not named in court documents, fled Singapore on a flight bound for Dhaka, Bangladesh, three days before his wife's body was found.
Ms Jonalyn Alvarez Raviz was pronounced dead on Sep 6, 2018 after she was discovered in the open field.
There was a strap around her neck that was tied to a small tree, said State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam in her findings.
A forensic pathologist certified her cause of death as consistent with a compressive neck injury.
"The evidence suggests that Ms Raviz was last seen with her husband before her death," said the coroner.
The yellow strap found tied around Ms Raviz's neck also resembled the strap from a sling bag belonging to her husband, and her blood was found on her husband's soiled jeans and sandals, retrieved from his home.
"Additionally, Ms Raviz’s husband’s sudden departure from Singapore was unexplained," said the coroner. "Police officers had also stated that efforts are ongoing to trace his whereabouts and a warrant for his arrest had been issued."
"In the circumstances, I find Ms Raviz’s death to be an unlawful killing, likely perpetrated by her husband," said the coroner.
MAID SAID HUSBAND WAS ABUSIVE
The coroner said that there was a basis to suspect foul play based on the evidence uncovered.
The court heard that Ms Raviz worked as a foreign domestic worker and stayed with her employers in a flat in Pasir Ris.
She had worked for them since October 2016, a year after marrying her husband, a process maintenance worker who lived in a dormitory and had worked in Singapore since 2007.
According to evidence heard by the coroner's court, Ms Raviz had previously voiced unhappiness about her marriage as her husband was abusive and repeatedly cheated on her, among other things.
According to Ms Raviz's employer, the maid had said she was in an unhappy marriage, with her husband taking all her salary.
Ms Raviz had also told her employer that she wanted to end the marriage as she had caught her husband having affairs on multiple occasions.
She had wanted to stop working and return to the Philippines in mid-September without telling her husband, according to her employer.
Ms Raviz had told the employer that her husband had threatened to kill her if she decided to leave him.
The employer informed the firm that employed Ms Raviz's husband about the threat.
DAY OF THE INCIDENT
Ms Raviz met her husband on the morning of Sep 2, 2018, as was her usual Sunday practice.
EZ-Link records showed that they boarded a public bus in the direction of Tampines Road.
Ms Raviz alighted at the bus stop along Tampines Road before Defu Lane 2 at 4.17pm, and her husband later boarded a taxi at 4.52pm.
His colleague spotted him returning to the dormitory at 5.12pm without a yellow-strapped sling bag that he had had with him earlier.
He was seen by another colleague leaving the dormitory with luggage after 6pm.
According to court documents, he went to a travel agency in Kitchener Road and bought a ticket for a flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh before calling a colleague to tell him he would not be returning to the dorm that day.
He left Singapore at around 5.30am on Sep 3, 2018, on a flight bound for Dhaka without telling any of his colleagues about his plans to leave the country.
MISSING PERSON REPORTS FILED, POLICE INVESTIGATE
Ms Raviz's employers lodged a missing person report that day after Ms Raviz did not return home, and her husband's company lodged a missing person report a day later when he failed to show up for work.
The police found Ms Raviz's body in thick vegetation about 5m away from the main footpath, in an advanced stage of decomposition.
A search of her husband's residence uncovered a blue polo T-shirt, a pair of jeans and sandals resembling what he had worn on the day of the incident.
There were mud stains on the clothes and a crumpled taxi receipt was found in the jeans pocket for a trip on Sep 2, 2018.
The man remains at large.