GOMBAK - The home where the body of a child was found buried in cement had its doors and windows locked, and the family never chatted with their neighbours.
About a week before they moved out, neighbours heard a boy cry out: "Please! Don't hit me! Don't hit me!"
Taman Usaha Jaya residents said they were saddened but not surprised by the morbid find, saying that there was "something off" about the family.
Besides shutting themselves in during their eight months there, neighbours often heard cries of children and beatings from the house.
Neighbour Ten Heen, 65, whose relative rented the home to the family, described the 33-year-old patriarch as a "man who could eat you up".
His arms were covered in tattoos and he would be very cold towards Ten even when greeted.
"Whenever he walked out, it's like he was scared someone would recognise him," Ten said, adding that the man lived in the house with his wife, their two daughters and two sons.
The strange odour of chemical from the house was nothing unusual for the neighbourhood, said Ten.
"The children are quite young - maybe the eldest has just started secondary school.
"Last month, I heard a big fight in the house and I heard the son pleading 'don't hit me, don't hit me'.
"The next day, neighbours noticed that one son was missing. He didn't come out of the house.
"The day after that, the family brought in a contractor to drill a hole," said Ten.
He said he suspected something amiss when his brother-in-law told him that they only hired a contractor to fix a clogged pipe in the bathroom.
The family, he said, became more reclusive and the home was dead quiet for about a week. Neighbours then saw the family packing up and driving off around mid-April.
On Friday, renovation workers found the child's body buried in cement after smelling a foul stench coming from a hole in the kitchen floor.
It was wrapped in cloth and severely decomposed.
Selangor CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Mohd Adnan Abdullah said he believed the child was a girl because the remains had long hair despite claims from neighbours that they noticed a boy missing.
Another neighbour, Azizan Shafiee, said even the man's children avoided speaking to neighbours.
"When he returned home from work, he would never come out of his car if one of us was standing outside. He would go around the neighbourhood in his car until we went inside.
"I didn't know them but I am very sad that this happened. That was a child and it's cruel," he told The Star.
Gombak OCPD Asst Comm Ali Ahmad said post-mortem suggested that the child might have died in April. The cause of death has yet to be determined.
"We are trying to track the family down. The case has been classified as murder," ACP Ali said.