Residents fear for their kids


So justice may be served: A police forensics unit looking for clues at the crime scene in Damansara Damai, Petaling Jaya. (Bottom) A neighbour of Zayn Rayyan’s family looking on through a window grille from her home. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

PETALING JAYA: With Zayn Rayyan Abdul Matiin’s killer still out there, residents of Idaman Apartment are keeping their children in behind locked doors.

“Everyone’s keeping their kids inside,” said Shida Rajali, whose three children are between the ages of five and nine.

“I myself don’t dare to let my children play outside. Even when we go out together, I feel nervous,” she added.

Her home is adjacent to Zayn Rayyan’s unit here in Damansara Damai. The six-year-old boy, whose family reported him missing on Tuesday, was walking back home from school with his mother before that.

His body was found in a stream about 200m from his home on Wednesday night.

A post-mortem found injuries on the child’s neck and body.

The murder of the child, who is autistic and non-verbal, has shocked Malaysians and traumatised residents here.

Shida, 35, said the tragedy has changed the face of the usually busy neighbourhood.

“It has become unusually quiet and everyone is teetering on the edge. It’s like we’re experiencing the MCO again,” she said in describing the stillness.

“Usually on Saturdays and Sundays, the apartment complex is a hive of activity. There would be children playing ball games downstairs, but now, we are too scared and uncomfortable as the killer is still on the loose,” she said at her home yesterday.

She hoped that the assailant would be apprehended as soon as possible so that justice can be accorded to Zayn Rayyan and his family.

Shida, who has been living at the apartment for 10 years, remembers him as a nice and quiet boy who was always with his mother wherever he went.

“Their house was like any normal household. And there was never any din or anything like that,” she said.

On the Tuesday afternoon that Zayn Rayyan went missing, Shida said she had seen his mother, Ismanira Abdul Manaf, 28, walking around the block appearing to be searching for something.

“She didn’t mention that she was looking for her son and I didn’t ask her either.

“She was walking around and bending here and there as if she was looking for something.

“I only found out that he was missing through a message circulated on the neighbourhood WhatsApp group at about 2.30pm on the same day,” she said.

She said her husband Ismail Mohamed Hassan, 40, later joined the search party to look for Zayn Rayyan.

According to Shida, the discovery of the boy’s body on Wednesday night stunned the neighbourhood.

The murder, she said, was the last thing they expected.

“We used to feel safe around here, but not anymore,” she said.

Another neighbour who wanted to be known only as Taufiq, 57, said he was anxious about his 16-year-old daughter’s safety now if she is home alone when he and his wife are away at work.

The factory worker said he hopes the police could close the case as soon as possible.

“There are 18 blocks in this apartment complex and more than 2,400 units. There are many children living here and we fear for their safety.

“I hope the police will be able to find the culprit,” he said.

Taufiq, who also joined the search party to look for Zayn Rayyan when he went missing, said:

“We searched for him in abandoned cars and empty homes but didn’t find anything.

“When they found his body in the stream, I thought he had fallen in.

“I never thought any crime would be involved,” he said.

A married couple who stays opposite of Zayn Rayyan’s house said that they feel uneasy, especially about the safety of their six children aged between one and 18.

“We are scared for our children’s lives,” said the wife, who only wanted to be known as Rahmah.

Police were still present at Idaman Apartment yesterday, with forensic officers arriving at about 1pm to comb the area where Zayn Rayyan’s body was found.

Tracker dogs from Bukit Aman’s K-9 unit were also deployed at the crime scene to look for fresh clues in the murder investigation.

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