SCANDAL-TAINTED MALAYSIA BACK IN WORLD SPOTLIGHT: DUTCH MODEL’S FAMILY FLEES COUNTRY, LEAVE HER BODY BEHIND – COPS TO ISSUE STATEMENT TODAY

PETALING JAYA The family of a Dutch model, who was found dead on the sixth-floor balcony of a condominium, has left Malaysia in haste, leaving the body of the model in Kuala Lumpur.

Bart, a close friend of the family, said 19-year-old Ivana Esther Robert Smit’s parents and brother left for the Netherlands via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 7.55pm on Friday, reported the New Straits Times.

He said Ivana’s father, Marcel Smit, will speak to the press soon to explain the reason for their sudden departure.

According to Bart, the family had initially bought three flight tickets to the Netherlands for a later date.

However, they changed their minds and bought new tickets as “they were in a hurry”, reported the NST.

The family, who had arrived in Malaysia on Monday to claim Ivana’s remains, left her body behind in Kuala Lumpur.

Earlier, they had expressed doubts that her death was an accident, claiming that Ivana had bruise marks on her neck.

NST reported that Kuala Lumpur police Criminal Investigation Department chief ACP Rusdi Mohd Isa is expected to release a statement on the investigation of the case by Monday.

Ivana died on the morning of Dec 7 after she fell from the window of a 20th floor unit of the apartment building, landing on the balcony of a 6th floor mezzanine of the CapSquare Residences, off Jalan Dang Wangi, Kuala Lumpur.

The case was initially classified as sudden death but investigations have been re-opened following pressure from the family and the Dutch embassy.

Ivana’s family started a crowdfunding campaign to raise €5,000 (RM24,113) to enable a Dutch pathologist and an American investigator to come to Malaysia to determine if her death was accidental or had criminal elements.

An American man and his Kazakhstan wife were with the victim in the apartment after all three had gone out together the previous night.

Ivana’s last communication was with her boyfriend at 7.30am on Dec 7.

The family is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her death, claiming Ivana had marks and bruises on her neck that looked “like fingerprints”, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD) reported.

The model’s father told AD that it was unlikely that Ivana had accidentally fallen from the balcony of the condominium unit as the balustrade reached a height of 1.21m while Ivana was 1.81m tall.

Initially, Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Shaharuddin Abdullah had said that police did not suspect any foul play.

It was also reported that Ivana was under the influence of intoxicating substances.

On Tuesday, Shaharuddin said the case was being re-examined by investigators because of her family’s suspicion of foul play, theSun Daily reported.

“The case remains classified as sudden death for now. However, if we find incriminating evidence that indicates foul play in her death, we will re-classify the case,” he told the daily.

Ivana, who is a Dutch national, grew up and studied in Penang as she was under the care of her grandparents since the age of 3.

She was the second runner-up in the Malaysia Supermodel Search 2014 when she was just 15 years old.

– FMT

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