Stabbing of Singaporean woman in Spain: Here’s what is known so far

Audrey Fang Dirou's body was found in Spain with stab wounds on April 10. A Singaporean man has been remanded in connection with her death. PHOTOS: FANG DIROU/FACEBOOK, EPA-EFE via The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): A Singaporean man has been remanded in Spain in connection with the death of a fellow Singaporean earlier in April.

Identified by Spanish media as one Mitchell Ong, the 43-year-old appeared in a court in Murcia, south-eastern Spain, on April 19.

This followed the April 17 identification of the body of architect Audrey Fang Dirou, who had been reported uncontactable by her family since April 10.

The body of Ms Fang, 39, was found in the Murcia region with stab wounds on April 10.

What is known about the case so far:

Ms Fang travels to Spain alone on April 4 and is slated to return to Singapore on April 12. It is not the first time she has travelled solo.

In Spain, she stays in Xabia, a picturesque coastal town in the province of Alicante. It is about 456km from the capital, Madrid, and 112km from the coastal city of Valencia.

She informs her family that she may be meeting a friend in Spain, but it is not known who this person is, or where and when she intends to meet the person.

She is last seen alive at the hotel on April 9, recorded on its closed-circuit television footage at 8.45pm. Spanish police later reveal that she is picked up by a black car that night.

On April 10, a body is found in a lorry park in Abanilla in the province of Murcia, which neighbours Alicante, but it cannot be identified at the time. Abanilla, which is known as the Murcian Palestine because of its desert-like landscapes and palm trees, is about 150km from Xabia.

The body is discovered by a man who is on his way to have breakfast at a restaurant located along a highway.

With no contact from Ms Fang since April 10, her family files a report with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on April 11.

When her brother goes to Changi Airport on April 12 in a bid to pick her up, he finds out that she has not boarded the flight to Singapore. He files a police report on the same day.

The hotel in Alicante where Singaporean Audrey Fang Dirou was staying before she went missing. -PHOTO: EPA-EFE via The Straits Times/ANNThe hotel in Alicante where Singaporean Audrey Fang Dirou was staying before she went missing. -PHOTO: EPA-EFE via The Straits Times/ANN

Suspect is traced via car’s journey

On April 17, it is revealed that the unidentified body discovered in Albanilla is Ms Fang’s and that she has reportedly suffered 30 stab wounds.

On the same day, Spanish media reports that a Singaporean man had been arrested a day earlier at his hotel in the city of Alicante, about 80km from Xabia, where Ms Fang stayed.

The Civil Guard, one of two national police forces in Spain, transfers Ong from Alicante to Murcia.

A Civil Guard spokeswoman later reveals that the suspect was traced via the black car that he was renting.

By tracing the car’s route, the police are able to determine that it started its journey at a carpark near a hotel in Alicante.

“From there, the car travelled to the hotel in Xabia and later to the town of Abanilla,” the Civil Guard said.

Ms Fang’s family arrives in Spain as news of the arrest and victim identification unfold. On April 18, her grieving family identifies her remains at a morgue in Murcia.

On the same day, the MFA says that Singapore’s honorary consulate-general in Madrid has been in contact with the local authorities regarding Ms Fang and providing assistance to her family. It adds that it is not in a position to comment on the case as investigations are ongoing.

Ms Fang’s former colleagues at DP Architects pay tribute to her, telling The Straits Times she was a charismatic, cheerful person and a true friend.

Motive for killing unknown

On April 19, the suspect appears in a court in Murcia but is not named, as is the custom in Spain.

Photographs published in Spanish media show a tall, bespectacled man in handcuffs being led by two officers into the court.

On the same day, a court magistrate says Ms Fang’s body can be returned to her family for repatriation to Singapore. Spanish news outlet La Opinion de Murcia reports that she suffered injuries caused by a knife and head trauma.

The Civil Guard spokeswoman tells ST that the motive for Ms Fang’s killing remains unclear. “We are still investigating the motive for this killing. There are various possible motives, which could be economic or a case of domestic violence.”

She adds: “We know that the suspect may have known Ms Fang and they may have been in a romantic relationship.”

The suspect is not offered bail while investigations are ongoing.

On April 19, La Opinion de Murcia identifies him by his initials “O.M.”. Another news outlet, La Verdad, reports the suspect’s name as “Mitchell Ong”. - The Straits Times/ANN

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Singapore , woman stabbing , current issues


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