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Decomposed body in flat identified four months later after fingerprint and DNA methods prove inconclusive

In a poignant revelation, a 66-year-old woman, living solo in a Teban Gardens flat, was discovered deceased in her kitchen toilet on 23 April this year.

Advanced decomposition obscured her identity. The coroner’s court revealed her identity on Monday (14 Aug) based on circumstantial evidence, after extensive investigation yielded no clarity from fingerprints, DNA, or dental records.



SINGAPORE: In a somber discovery, a 66-year-old woman, who had been residing alone in her Teban Gardens flat, was found lifeless in her kitchen toilet on 24 April this year.

Her remains were in an advanced state of decomposition, making facial recognition impossible. Declared deceased at 6.45 pm on the same day, her identity remained enigmatic for nearly four months.

The coroner’s court finally unveiled her identity as Madam Tham Yoke Hing on Monday (14 Aug), following extensive efforts by authorities to ascertain the truth.

Her fingerprints, DNA samples, and dental records failed to provide conclusive answers, the Singapore media outlet CNA reported.

The sequence of events began on 21 April when a neighbor reported water leakage from his ceiling, prompting him to seek help from HDB officers to contact Madam Tham.

After her niece’s attempts to communicate with her went unanswered, police were called in.

A disheartening sight awaited them as they discovered Madam Tham’s body in a highly decomposed state within her kitchen toilet.

Inspector Benjamin Sim, the investigating officer, noted that her features were beyond recognition. There were no signs of foul play, intrusion, or struggle. Valuables remained untouched, making foul play unlikely.

Identification challenges despite rigorous efforts

Efforts to establish her identity through thumbprints and DNA profiling were thwarted due to the decomposition.

Even DNA tests with her brother’s samples did not yield a match.

Interviews revealed that she was adopted, and attempts to identify her using dental records proved futile due to her lack of teeth and records.

With primary identification methods exhausted, circumstantial evidence became crucial.

Neighbors last saw her alive two to three weeks before the grim discovery. It was reported that she preferred solitude due to her home’s condition. Medical records disclosed chronic illnesses.

State Coroner Adam Nakhoda concluded that she passed away due to hypertensive heart disease, a natural cause.

Despite the complex identification process, it was confirmed that the body found in her flat was indeed Madam Tham’s. The court extended condolences to her next-of-kin.

Previous cases of elderly die alone in their residence

On various occasions, Singaporeans have been confronted with poignant stories of elderly individuals who passed away alone in their homes.

A recent case involved an elderly Malay man residing solo in a Bukit Merah HDB shophouse. Tragically, he passed away on 20 April. In his room, neatly hung traditional clothing – baju kurung, samping, and shoes – indicating his anticipation of Hari Raya celebrations.

In June 2022, 73-year-old Madam Cheng Ah Imm, found dead in a rental flat after Housing Development Board (HDB) officials broke open her flat’s locked door.

They found a pile of bones in the living room, after deciding to reclaim the flat due to unpaid rental of over two years.

Some netizens have questioned why the HDB officials took so long to discover the deceased, given that an elderly person was living in the unit.

In November 2020, police found an elderly’s remains in her unit at The Shore Residences— nearly two years after she was last seen.

The elderly Lily Loh, who was in her 80s, lived by herself and only had a pet dog. The resident noted that Madam Loh appeared to have neither family members nor visitors.

In February 2020, the resident said there was a “weird smell” in the common corridor, which went away weeks later. The condo management was notified of Madam Loh’s sudden absence. Despite that, nothing appeared to have been done, according to the resident.

Police were alerted to Madam Loh’s missing status after Mountbatten Member of Parliament (MP) Lim Biow Chuan was informed of her disappearance.

In December 2021, a 63-year-old male was found dead in his Toa Payoh flat, after his neighbours detected a foul stench emanating from the unit.

In 2020, about 88,000 Singapore’s elderly residents aged 60 live alone

In January 2022, Sitoh Yih Pin, Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir, asked Minister for Health (MOH) in Parliament regarding the annual number of seniors aged 60 years and above who passed away alone at home in the past five years.

In the written reply, the Minister noted that while the Ministry does not track the proportion who passed away alone at home, but as of 2020, about 10% or 88,000 Singapore residents aged 60 years and above live alone.

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They can recover DNA (albeit fragments) from hundreds of millions of years old dinosaur fossils and they got nothing usable from the remains??

I expect more gruesome crimes or incidents in sg due to the most stressed era of sg

Expect more gruesome. Most expensive city