Murder in Spain: Limited edition sneakers worn by suspect match footprints at crime scene

Spanish media reported that while Mitchell Ong (left) and Audrey Fang knew each other previously, their relationship remains unclear. - ST

SINGAPORE: A pair of limited-edition sports sneakers worn by murder suspect Mitchell Ong match footprints found at the scene in Spain where Singaporean architect Audrey Fang was found dead on April 10.

Spanish media outlet La Verdad de Murcia reported on April 23 that the Civil Guard has collected soil embedded in the sneakers to compare it to sandstone at the crime scene.

The 39-year-old was found with 30 stab wounds near a parking area for lorries in the town of Abanilla, while she was on a solo trip.

ALSO READ: Murder in Spain: Singaporean suspect was self-proclaimed financial ‘expert’ involved in multiple businesses

La Verdad de Murcia reported that the sneakers, which were seized from Ong’s room in the hotel he was staying in, about 70km away from where Fang’s body was found, stood out for their large size (European size 48.5) and hefty price tag of €935 (S$1,360), based on luxury brand platform

A Spanish court judge on April 19 ruled to hold the 43-year-old Singaporean in remand, saying in court documents that he is a flight risk as he has no roots in Spain.

ALSO READ: Body of missing S’porean woman in Spain found with 30 stab wounds; S’porean man arrested

She added that he has the financial means to leave the country, pointing to the €3,760 and S$1,000 that were seized in his hotel room on the day of his arrest on April 16.

The judge noted, citing data collected from mobile phone operators, that there was “no doubt” the two Singaporeans were in the same area on the day of the crime.

Fang’s phone was also found to be in Ong’s possession, La Verdad de Murcia reported on April 20.

A black car which purportedly picked up Fang, who was last seen alive at her hotel in Xabia on April 9 at 8.45pm, provided more clues, Spanish police revealed earlier.

After establishing the registration details, they traced the car’s route and found that it had travelled from near a hotel in Alicante, then to Xabia, before heading to the town of Abanilla.

The judge also noted that Ong had changed clothes the night Fang was killed.

Cameras at his hotel in Alicante, which Spanish media identified as Hotel Eurostars, captured him leaving at around 5.45pm on April 9 in a hooded sweatshirt and black pants.

He returned at around 2am the next day wearing a blue sweater and jeans.

Ong refused to testify in court on April 19.

La Verdad de Murcia reported that while Ong and Fang knew each other previously, their relationship remains unclear. It said Fang was involved in investments and recently transferred money to an unidentified third party.

Fang’s body will likely be repatriated back to Singapore from Spain sometime this week after a death certificate and embalming certificate have been issued, her family members told CNA on April 22.

They said they were horrified to learn of her killing, adding that she had suffered severe injuries to her face.

Fang left Singapore for Spain on April 4 and had been due to return on April 12. She became uncontactable on April 10.

Her brother, Benjamin Fang, 35, went to Changi Airport on April 12 in a bid to receive her but found out she did not board her return flight. He made a police report the same day.

Benjamin, his girlfriend Lee Si Hui, 30, and Fang’s cousin, who wanted to known only as See, left for Spain on April 17 to look for her.

The trio hired a lawyer based in Spain to handle the case and returned to Singapore on April 21.

A preliminary autopsy report found that knife wounds and head trauma were the cause of her death, said Spanish media reports.

Benjamin told Chinese-language outlet Shin Min Daily News that when he identified his sister’s body at the Murcia Institute of Legal Medicine, it pained him to see numerous wounds on her face and body.

“There were stab wounds on her body, injuries on her face and her lips were split open,” he said.

See said: “We initially thought she had gotten hurt and were prepared to search for her in hospitals around Spain. In the worst-case scenario, we imagined she had fallen ill, got into a car accident or had fallen down somewhere.

“We never imagined that she had been killed.”

Tributes have poured in for Fang, with her friends and ex-colleagues saying she was a loving and bubbly individual who would go the extra mile to help someone in need.

Geraldine Tan, 49, who worked with Fang previously, said: “She was always helping out with her late mother’s floral business. When we had discussions about flowers, she was knowledgeable and insightful.”

Meanwhile, Ong has become a target of scorn online, with netizens leaving more than 150 comments on his most recent Instagram post on April 4.

Some called him a narcissist and mocked his Instagram profile, which states:“Loved by Many. Feared by none. Cos I am nice.” - The Straits Times/ANN

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