Sunday, February 17, 2013

of Shane Todd and his mysterious death in Singapore?

A mysterious death indeed. Just take a look at LinkedIn account of the late Shane Todd or Shane Truman Todd. His was a sterling career and education. He was a Research Scientist in the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics since December 2010 (for 18 months according to this Yahoo! News, "Police respond to newspaper report over US engineer’s sudden death") and he also had a Ph.D., Electrical Engineering from University of California, Santa Barbara with specialization in electronics and photonics. Impressive, truly impressive.


And yet he's dead. He's found hanging in the toilet of his apartment in Chinatown on 23 June last year. But his is not just a death in Singapore. (A touching "In Memoriam of Shane Todd", by the way.) The FT Magazine in its article, "Death in Singapore" published on 15 Feb this year raised a lot of interesting points about the mysterious death of Shane Todd.

The article has also made its way in the local HWZ forum, "[SAGA] US electronics engineer Shane Todd was found hanging in his Singapore apartment". Not so many comments yet, though.

Meanwhile NewNation.sg has been quick to publish its article, "The most disturbing story in Singapore’s history…". Well, its immature tag aside, it does raise an interesting question: why such a mysterious death was not reported in by any local media?


Well, to be fair at least I came across to this article by the New Paper (TNP), "S'pore police want hard drive of dead American engineer". That should count as a local media, no? Hur hur.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) said its procedures for investigating cases, in particular those involving deaths, are of high international standards.

It was responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia about the death of American electronics engineer Shane Todd.

According to a Financial Times report published on February 15, Mr Todd allegedly hanged himself in the toilet of his apartment in Chinatown last year.

His death came shortly before he was to return to the US after an 18-month stint with the Institute of Microelectronics, a research facility.

The report also raised questions about the circumstances surrounding Mr Todd's death and the way police investigations were carried out.

In addition, the report contained interviews with Mr Todd's parents who said they believe he was murdered over his work in Singapore.

They also alleged that Mr Todd's death was not properly investigated.

The police denied this.

A SPF statement late Saturday night said that all unnatural death cases are investigated thoroughly and that police work closely with the pathologist and other relevant experts.

A spokesman noted that no prior assumptions are made on the cause of death.

He added that the police have handled this case in the same way as other cases that they have looked into.

The spokesman also noted that all crime scene locations which could contain evidence are protected from any interference with what is known as "trace evidence".

The sites are secured by police for the duration required for scene examination and evidence collection.

The conditions and items found at the crime scene are carefully recorded in great detail, as well as conserved and removed for subsequent laboratory analysis.

A coroner's inquiry into Mr Todd's death is expected to take place. Police say his family will be able to question witnesses and relevant reports that are submitted.

Police urge anyone with evidence that could assist in the investigation to share the information with them.

They have also engaged and assisted Mr Todd's family since his death, and will continue to do so.

They have also kept the American Embassy and FBI informed.
From Channel NewsAsia, "Police deny allegations US engineer's death not properly investigated".

A sensational news report about the death of an American research scientist in Singapore that cast aspersions on two Singapore public institutions prompted responses from both agencies yesterday.

Full statement from the Singapore Police Force:

The Police investigate all unnatural death cases thoroughly, working closely with the pathologist and other relevant experts, and no prior assumptions are made on the cause of death. Our procedures for investigating cases, particularly those involving death of persons, are strict and of high international standards.

We have handled this case in the same way as other cases that Police have looked into.

All crime scene locations which have the potential for recovery of evidence are handled with care and are protected from interference of any kind so as to preserve any trace evidence. The sites are secured by Police for the duration required for scene examination and evidence collection.

The conditions and items found at the crime scene are carefully recorded in great detail, as well as conserved and removed for subsequent laboratory analysis.

The Financial Times article mentioned a hard disk which was purportedly recovered by Mr and Mrs Rick Todd from their son's residence.

To ensure the investigations are as thorough as possible, we urge any person who has evidence in their possession that can assist in our investigation to share them with the Police. All relevant evidence gathered by Police will be tendered at the Coroner's Inquiry once the investigations are completed .

The Coroner will independently determine the circumstances under which Mr Shane Todd came by his death taking into account the investigation findings and other evidence.

During the open inquiry, the family of the deceased may question the witnesses and the relevant reports, including the pathologist report.

As investigations are ongoing, it is inappropriate for the Police to comment further on the case.

Since the death of Mr Shane Todd, the Police have engaged and assisted the family without impeding the objectivity of our investigation process. We will continue to do so. Police have also kept the American Embassy and FBI informed of this case.
From Asiaone, "Is it suicide or is it murder?".

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