BUKIT MERTAJAM - As Adelina Lisao slept night after night on the porch with the family dog, a neighbour was starting to suspect something was wrong.
All the 26-year-old had was a straw mat, a pillow and a blanket.
According to the neighbour, the maid covered herself from head to toe every night with the blanket to keep the mosquitoes away while the dog, a black Rottweiler, seemed to be her only friend.
It was when yellow green pus started to form on what looked like burn marks on Adelina’s arms that the neighbour could no longer mind her own business.
“We tried so many times to ask her if she was all right and if she needed anything but she would never respond.
“She just shook her head, looked down and walked away.
“We really tried to help her but she seemed so afraid of something,” said the neighbour, who did not want to be named.
Adelina, she said, was screamed at all day long. Even after midnight, neighbours from three or four houses away could hear the screams.
“The screaming was fierce and vulgar – in Malay and sometimes in Tamil. But I could not really make out the precise words,” she said.
On Saturday, Adelina, from Nusa Tenggara Timur, was rescued from the house in Taman Kota Permai. She died in hospital a day after.
A post-mortem showed that she had died from multiple organ failure due to anaemia.
Anaemia is a condition where there are not enough red blood cells in the body, severely cutting down oxygen supply for organs to function properly.
Yesterday, a 60-year-old woman from the household where Adelina had worked was remanded for seven days.
She was arrested on Monday, two days after her children – a 39-year-old son and a 36-year-old daughter – were detained and remanded for investigation into Adelina’s murder.
After her remand proceedings, a patrol car had to send the woman to custody when she found it hard to climb onto the police truck.
Penang police chief Comm Datuk A. Thaiveegan said police did not rule out the possibility that the alleged abuse had been going on for months.
“We are still waiting for the detailed autopsy report,” he said.