KOTA KINABALU - Angered by children playing noisily outside his house, a man allegedly abducted and slapped to death three-year-old Shahriqal Sidek, who was earlier reported missing.
The body of Shahriqal, thought to have gone missing at a rubber plantation near his village in Selangon while playing with his older brothers on Friday, was later found dumped in a stream at Kg Jempagah, near SM St John at 2pm yesterday.
Police recovered the body after they arrested the 30-year-old self-employed man, who is the boy's neighbour.
Beaufort police chief Deputy Supt Mustaffa Maarof Mustaffa said after intense questioning, amidst a search-and-rescue operation for the boy, the neighbour led authorities to the stream.
"The suspect told us that he was irritated by the children playing around the neighbourhood," said Mustaffa.
"He claimed that he had taken the boy in his car and slapped him several times, and the boy died," he said.
Police, he added, were looking into all angles as the neighbour and Shahriqal's father had an argument recently.
"We believe that there are other motives. We are still questioning him," he said.
Mustaffa said boys playing in the neighbourhood told police that they had seen the neighbour abducting the child.
"We immediately picked him up," he said, adding that police checked the neighbour's house on Friday after Shahriqal's father told them of the argument.
The neighbour, who sometimes works as a driver, is married with a child. His wife is expecting.
Shahriqal was last seen playing with his older brothers - Mohd Syahfuddin, eight, and Mohd Syahrizam, six, - outside their house at around 6.30am on Friday.
Their mother Saminie Rawel, 24, only realised that the toddler was missing when she wanted to breast-feed him but couldn't find him. She alerted the police.
Shahriqal's body had been sent for post-mortem and police had classified the case as murder.