News / Asia

Death of American Engineer in Singapore Raises Questions

Parents of the late American Shane Todd, Mary, right, and Rick Todd, left, arrive to waiting press at the Subordinate Courts, May 13, 2013, in Singapore.Parents of the late American Shane Todd, Mary, right, and Rick Todd, left, arrive to waiting press at the Subordinate Courts, May 13, 2013, in Singapore.
x
Parents of the late American Shane Todd, Mary, right, and Rick Todd, left, arrive to waiting press at the Subordinate Courts, May 13, 2013, in Singapore.
Parents of the late American Shane Todd, Mary, right, and Rick Todd, left, arrive to waiting press at the Subordinate Courts, May 13, 2013, in Singapore.
Daniel Schearf
An inquiry in Singapore into the death of 31-year-old American engineer Shane Todd has revealed he suffered from depression and visited websites about suicide.  But his parents believe he was murdered because of a project he worked on to transfer sensitive military technology to a Chinese company in violation of United States laws.

Legal proceedings in Singapore continued for a second day Tuesday into the cause of Todd's death. His body was found hanging by a strap from the bathroom door at his residence in the city-state in June last year.
 
Singapore police concluded the death was a suicide. But Todd's parents, Mary and Rick, believe he was murdered because of work involving the illegal transfer of sensitive military technology to a Chinese company.  

In testimony Monday, police said there were no signs of forced entry at his residence.  They said suicide notes were found on his laptop as well as an Internet browsing history showing he visited websites detailing how to commit suicide.  

The inquiry also heard testimony from Todd's girlfriend confirming he suffered from depression and was on medication, though she said she doubted he would take his own life.

The parents have questioned the legitimacy of the suicide notes and the way police handled the investigation. They have also raised the possibility of a cover-up, which Singapore authorities deny.

They have enlisted the support of their two Montana U.S. senators and say they want the U.S. Congress to investigate.

Eugene Tan is an assistant professor of law at Singapore Management University.  He said the differing accounts of Todd's death could have larger implications.

"But certainly here, one hopes that the coroner's inquiry, will come up with a definitive description of what actually happened," said Tan. "And, I think there are international implications, because there could be implications for Singapore-U.S. bilateral relations.  But, on a larger level, there will be questions about the integrity of the Singapore legal system, particularly into investigations into this death of Dr. Shane Todd."

Todd's parents sent the Singapore autopsy report to a U.S. doctor who concluded bruises on the hands and neck indicated Todd fought for his life and was possibly choked to death.  

Singapore senior state counsel Tai Wei Shyong at the Monday inquiry said other U.S. doctors refuted that conclusion.  He outlined the testimony and evidence presented at first day of the hearing.

"First and foremost, the autopsy report, the Singapore autopsy report provided that the death was asphyxia due to hanging, there is a conflicting report that the next of kin have produced, have presented this to the court," said Tai Wei. "We hope very much that their expert, Doctor Adelstein, will be able to come to Singapore and give evidence."  

Todd's parents say their son was worried his work at the Singapore Institute of Micro-Electronics (IME), a government-linked research agency, could compromise U.S. security.  He quit the job at IME just two days before his death and was due to start a new job in the United States.

They say a hard drive recovered at Todd's residence contains evidence he worked on a project to transfer an advanced semiconductor material with military applications to Chinese company Huawei.

Huawei has been blocked from projects in Australia, and the U.S. Congress considers it a security risk for spying.

Huawei and IME deny having any projects that would violate U.S. regulations and say they only discussed commercial projects.

More than 60 witnesses are expected to give testimony and evidence for at least another week before a final ruling will be made on the cause of death.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs