The disappearance of Felicia Teo was a mystery that tortured her family and puzzled Singapore for more than a decade. But 15 years since she vanished, the truth about Teo’s disappearance came to light in court last week—told by one of two men she was with on the night she went missing, revealing an elaborate cover-up after her sudden death.
The court in Singapore heard that Teo, a 19-year-old art student, died after taking MDMA with her 18-year-old schoolmate Ragil Putra Setia Sukmarahjana and 22-year-old graphic designer Ahmad Danial Mohamed Rafa’ee. The two men burned her body and misled investigators, the court heard, as they feared punishment for taking the controlled substance in Singapore, which holds some of the world’s harshest drug laws.
On Friday, Ahmad Danial was sentenced to 26 months in jail after pleading guilty to fabricating false evidence, providing the police with false evidence, misappropriating Teo’s belongings, and “unlawfully depositing” her corpse. Ragil, an Indonesian citizen, remains at large.
However, Ahmad Danial will likely be released soon after factoring in remission, the court heard, as the now-37-year-old has spent more than 18 months in remand since he was arrested in 2020.
The pair had gotten away with it for 13 years, until new evidence surfaced in 2020 which sent authorities down a rabbit hole to uncover what happened in the early hours of June 30, 2007. The trio had returned to Ragil’s flat to consume ecstasy after a party, the court heard. But sometime before 6:00 a.m. Ahmad Danial and Ragil realized that Teo had died of an unknown cause. Desperate to avoid being caught for drug consumption, which would see them face jail terms of up to 18 months, the pair decided to dispose of her body.
Hiding Teo’s body between two mattresses, they cleaned the flat before planting her phone at a park for police to find. They then bought tools to dispose of her body before returning home, where they put Teo in a box and sealed it with tape. They transported the box out of the flat, using the staircase to avoid security cameras, before taking a cab to a remote location on the outskirts of Singapore. There, the men put the box into a hole they dug, doused it in kerosene, and set it on fire. Once the flames burnt out, they covered the hole.
Teo’s mother would lodge a police report for her missing daughter on July 3. When contacted by police, Ahmad Danial and Ragil fed them a lie that they had agreed on: Teo had left the unit at around 2:30 a.m. to meet someone at East Coast Park—the location where they had left her phone—and they had not seen her since.
Ahmad Danial, who made two sets of false statements during the investigation, told police that Teo had stormed out of the flat with her laptop and bag after he told her to silence her phone, which was ringing loudly while she texted. He also said that she left after he called her a “bitch” for having multiple boyfriends.
No further investigations were conducted against the pair in 2007, amid a lack of evidence suggesting foul play on their part. However, authorities regularly reviewed her case for leads and kept in touch with her family.
The sudden disappearance of Teo made waves in the city-state, with almost 200 of her friends and family distributing flyers to find her. Her parents even visited the neighboring Malaysian city of Johor Bahru to look for her, local media reported. Amid media attention on Teo’s case, her family and friends also fell victim to prank calls promising intel on her whereabouts.
The cold case was revived in 2020, when police found that Ahmad Danial had taken possession of Teo’s laptop and given it to his father, despite his claim that she had left the flat with it in 2007. Ahmad Danial was then arrested after confessing to lying during the initial investigation.
After his arrest, authorities conducted screenings on skeletons found in the area where Teo’s body was abandoned, and concluded via DNA testing that an unidentified partial human skull discovered in 2010 likely belonged to Teo. None of her other remains were discovered in the vicinity.
Initially charged with murder in 2020, Ahmad Danial was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal in June, leaving the door open for this charge to be revived if new information comes to light. Meanwhile, Indonesian authorities are attempting to locate Ragil, who is now 32 years old.
Ahmad Danial’s lawyers said that he will be appealing for a discharge amounting to acquittal. In his mitigation plea, Ahmad Danial expressed deep regret for his actions and said that he had thought of surrendering to the police on multiple occasions. His lawyers painted him as a young man trying to avoid drug charges. Singapore’s zero-tolerance drug policy, which can see people given the death penalty for carrying just 500 grams of cannabis, has faced growing scrutiny from local activists and international human rights groups.
Prosecutors, who requested a 27-month jail sentence for Ahmad Danial, said that his remorse “rings hollow,” pointing to the pair’s detailed plans to hide Teo’s body. They added that Teo’s friends and family had no idea of her whereabouts for 13 years due to the cover-up, while the judge added that the pair had cost her loved ones proper closure.
“On June 30, 2007, he could have come clean, but instead he spent the whole day planning how to dispose of the body while it was concealed between two mattresses in Ragil’s room,” prosecutors said.
“So we say it appears that he’s just sorry he got caught instead of being sorry for the offenses.”