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Caucasian man found dead at Laguna Park // The Investigation of Shane Todd’s Death

Spotted on AsiaOne Online:

Man found dead at foot of Laguna Park block

A man was found dead at the foot of Block 5000B Laguna Park at about 1pm yesterday (May 16). Stomp reader Elleson, who alerted Stomp to the incident, said that the Caucasian man is believed to be in his forties.

Said Elleson:

“Yesterday on May 16 2013, at around 1pm, police cars, ambulance and red rhino were seen at Block 5000B Laguna park. Apparently, a Caucasian man in his 40s was found motionless at the foot of his block around the grass patch area.

At that hour it was rather quiet as most of the school children return from their morning classes between 1.30pm and 2.30pm. According to the neighbours, no one noticed him as his unit is facing behind the apartment block and there is no walkway. Neighbours believe that he had jumped down from his unit.

He had two maids living with him. The man was found by our estate’s part-time technician and a security guard who informed the police.”

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-2214444
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-2837019
Sage Counselling Centre: 1800-5555555
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling: 1800-3535800

Credits:AsiaOne Online

Looking at this news article reminded me of the current case going on in Singapore – The investigation of the American Researcher, Shane Todd’s death which I didn’t really follow much on. I just read bits and pieces from Today Online, STOMP and The New Paper. So just to share it with you:

Shane Todd visited suicide websites, court hears

Suicide, depression-related websites were accessed on American researcher’s laptop before his apparent suicide last June, investigation revealed

SINGAPORE — Not having heard from him over the weekend despite her repeated text messages and an unanswered call, a “very worried” Ms Shirley Sarmiento took a taxi to her boyfriend Shane Truman Todd’s apartment in Chinatown on the evening of June 24 last year.

But upon reaching the apartment, Ms Sarmiento found the 31-year-old Todd, a former research scientist with the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) who had ended work there two days earlier, hanging from the door of the toilet in the master bedroom. Todd’s face and body was “all white but purple from his elbow down to his fingers and from his knees down to his toes”, said Ms Sarmiento, a staff nurse with the Emergency Department of Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Shirley Sarmiento, girlfriend of Shane Todd, leaves the subordinate courts on the first day of the coroner’s inquiry. Photo: Don Wong SOURCE:MediaCorp Press Ltd

“The purple colour from Shane’s elbows and from his knees was probably caused by bloody pooling due to the effect of gravity. Every other part of Shane’s body was white and there was hardened fluid coming out from Shane’s nose,” Ms Sarmiento, 27, said in her statement to the police, which was signed weeks ago and read out by Senior State Counsel Tai Wei Shyong this morning (May 13), on the first day of the Coroner’s Inquiry into Todd’s death.

The high profile Coroner’s Inquiry, which saw a packed courtroom mainly filled with reporters from local and international media, aims to ascertain the cause of and circumstances surrounding Todd’s death. Todd’s parents, who are attending the inquiry, believe that he was murdered over research he had done while working for IME and have raised doubts about the way police investigations were carried out.


Earlier the court heard that the browser history on Todd’s laptop showed that suicide-related websites had been accessed on 19 different occasions between March 10 and June 23 last year. Todd accessed most these websites dealing with suicide and depression mostly in May 2012. The last suicide-related webpage accessed was on June 23, 2012, the day before Todd was found hanged.

Mr Tai also said in his opening statement that police officers who responded to Todd’s apartment found him “hanging from a black strap in front of a door within the bedroom. The strap appeared to be secured to the top of the door”. A noose, which was fashioned from the strap, was around Todd’s neck and a white towel was also wrapped around his neck under the strap. But no foul play was observed by the police, Mr Tai said.

It was also revealed that Todd had left a note on his laptop to his family and girlfriend telling them that he loved them and was sorry for the pain he caused them. The note was found after the Investigating Officer accessed the laptop using a password written on a post-it note. Todd’s mother subsequently handed over some tablets and the name card of psychiatrist Dr Nelson Lee, which she found in the apartment, to the police.

Analysis by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) found that the tablets contained the anti-depressant Citalopram. But according to the toxicology report from the HSA, no foreign compounds, including Citalopram, had been found in Todd’s blood and urine. The evidence of his colleagues the State will call to the stand, Mr Tai said, will show that Todd had little experience working with Gallium Nitride (GaN) semi-conductors and “found it difficult to cope with his work in the GaN research group. This led to a gradual change in his demeanour and behaviours in the months before his passing,” Mr Tai added.


Taking the stand as the State’s first witness in the morning, Ms Sarmiento testified that Todd told her he was unhappy with working in a “dishonest environment”, although he did not elaborate. She also knew that he had been depressed since October 2011.

Todd was also a “perfectionist” who would proofread his research papers “many times”. Whenever they cooked together, “he always had to measure, precisely, the quantity of ingredients required”, Ms Sarmiento testified in her statement, which was read out by Mr Tai. But according to her observations, when Ms Sarmiento slept over at his apartment almost every weekend, Todd did not display any suicidal tendencies and he also exercised regularly.

Todd’s housemate, Mr Michael William Goodwin, and close friends Ali Gilles Tchenguise Miserez and Bart Richard Lendrum also took the stand in the morning. While all testified that Todd was unhappy and under pressure from work, they did not feel that he was suicidal. Several police officers will take the stand once the inquiry resumes after lunch.

Rick and Mary Todd, parents of Shane Todd, leave the subordinate courts on the first day of the coroner’s inquiry. Photo: Don Wong SOURCE:MediaCorp Press Ltd

At the Coroner’s Inquiry which will last till the end of the month, the Todd family can question investigation findings, as well as forensic and medical reports. They will also have the opportunity to raise concerns relating to the case.

After that, the State Coroner will review the evidence and independently determine the cause of Dr Todd’s death. Some 60 witnesses are expected to take the stand in all. The Todd family is being represented by a team of five lawyers led by Ms Gloria James-Civetta.

Credits:Today Online

As the case continued, I heard that there was this mystery external hard drive which some have speculated that it contained a secret formula for advanced electronics, but later this was apparently untrue. Moving on from there, this is the latest news that came in today:

Tearful Father of Shane Todd Says Family Trusts Court
By Martin Vaughan

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Rick Todd looks on while his wife Mary describes bruising of their son Shane’s neck during a break at an inquest looking into Shane’s death in Singapore.

A tearful Rick Todd publicly apologized on behalf of his wife who had called the Singapore court system “corrupt” as a much-watched inquiry into the death of their son, an American scientist working on sensitive research, finished its fourth day.

“We’d just seen a lot of pictures of our son – our dead son – and it was a very emotional morning. We’re sorry the word ‘corrupt’ came out, and we have faith in the Singapore court system,” he said Thursday to reporters.

His wife Mary had called the Singapore court process “corrupt” when speaking to reporters earlier Thursday. Shane Todd’s body was found in his apartment last June 24, days after he had quit his job with the Singapore-run Institute of Microelectronics. Singapore police and forensic investigators have presented evidence to the court inquiry suggesting that Mr. Todd hanged himself. Mr. Todd’s parents say they believe he was murdered and will have a chance to lay out their case next week, which is the second and final week of the inquiry. A coroner’s determination of the cause of death is expected in late June.

Lawyers for the Todd family said Thursday that evidence found in Shane’s apartment showed that he had been packing and making arrangements to sell furniture. Their questions in court focused on indications that Mr. Todd’s stress and anxiety was job-related, which could have been relieved when Mr. Todd left his job at the Institute for Microelectronics.

In addition, on June 21, three days before his body was found, Mr. Todd was offered a job by Nuvotronics, a Radford, Va.-based developer of radio frequency and defense technology, according to a letter presented in court Thursday. He accepted the job offer.

Credits:The Wall Street Journal (Read the full article there)

And also spotted from The Courtroom (STOMP):

American researcher’s death: ‘No doubt hanging was the cause’

There is “no doubt” that American researcher Shane Todd died from hanging and not from being strangled by a wire or cord, the pathologist who supervised the autopsy told the court yesterday.

Dr Wee Keng Poh, a veteran pathologist who has conducted more than 10,000 autopsies, including at least 800 cases of asphyxia due to hanging, said the medical evidence supported this. The body of Dr Todd was found hanged against a door in his apartment on June 24 last year, in what was an apparent suicide. His parents, however, do not believe he had killed himself.

Yesterday, the state counsel told the inquiry Dr Wee’s findings were supported by two other overseas experts. In fact, out of five reports about the post-mortem examination, only one – commissioned by Dr Todd’s parents – said it was murder. Dr Wee said the autopsy, done a day after the body was discovered, found an inverted “V” mark around the neck consistent with hanging. There was also a 4cm gap in the mark at the back of the neck that led up to the noose.

If Dr Todd had been garrotted or strangled with a wire or cord, the mark would have been a more horizontal circle around the whole neck, added the Health Sciences Authority’s (HSA) senior consultant forensic pathologist. There would also have been bleeding from broken blood vessels in the eyes, or injury in the internal structures of the neck, neither of which was observed during the autopsy, he said.

Dr Wee also took the court through an alternate report by Dr Edward Adelstein. The United States-based pathologist, who had been engaged by Dr Todd’s parents, had submitted a report saying Dr Todd was murdered. Dr Adelstein, who will testify via video-link next Monday, had written about “injuries” on the hands as well as suspicious bruises at the back of the neck, which he said may have come from Dr Todd trying to remove a cord or wire. However, his report was based partly on photographs provided by Dr Todd’s parents and taken about two weeks after the body was found.

Among other things, Dr Wee said the “injuries” on Dr Todd’s hands, that Dr Adelstein referred to, were discolourations likely caused by a natural process where blood pools in parts of the body after death due to gravity. In fact, a separate report by American pathologist David Richard Fowler found that the pattern of the abrasions on the back of Dr Todd’s neck matched the towel’s weave. Dr Wee said some people use a towel to cushion the pain caused by the noose.

He added that what seemed like a bruise on Dr Todd’s forehead was unlikely to be an injury. Photographs taken of the body when it was discovered did not show the discolouration, and the autopsy which looked under the scalp did not find bleeding. Dr Wee, however, could not account for scratch-like marks around Dr Todd’s ears and neck. He said these were not present during the autopsy, and he did not think they had been caused before death.

Credits:The Courtroom, STOMP

And the case continues next week

Till later,
♥ mitsueki

Author: mitsueki

Hello! I'm mitsueki aka Daphne and I blog at mitsueki.sg! Follow me on IG for more updates too!

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