JOHOR BARU - An Estonian model known to have links to a member of a royal family has been found murdered in Pulau Rawa, raising many questions.
Freelance model Regina Soosalu was initially thought to have drowned when her body was discovered on a stretch of beach along the island on July 1, the day she arrived on the island.
However, the police are now investigating the death as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code after discovering "suspicious" wounds on her body.
Johor CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Hasnan Hassan said six suspects had been detained to assist with investigations so far.
"All six were on the island on the day of the incident but I cannot reveal any more information as we are in the midst of our investigations," he said.
A source close to Soosalu and her boyfriend said he had been told the model was last seen by hotel workers leaving her room for a walk near the jetty. He said she never returned after that.
The boyfriend, Tengku Alang Reza Ibrahim, had been silent on the death on his Facebook account until Tuesday. The source said he had been too distraught to talk about it.
Tengku Alang Reza described the incident as "the worst tragedy of his life".
"Regina my love has passed away on July 1, in the holy month of Ramadan. She is my love, my best friend and will continue to be my inspiration for the rest of my life," Tengku Alang Reza said on Facebook.
"Her heart was filled with greatness, love, compassion for all beings and life itself."
In saying his final goodbye, Tengku Alang Reza said "words cannot express the emptiness and heartache I feel. Farewell for now, never goodbye. Till we meet again I love you My baby, you'll always be in my heart X."
Asked if the boyfriend had been called in as well, SAC Hasnan said the police had yet to bring him in.
"We have informed Interpol about the incident and we have left it to them to contact her family.
"I believe details were also supplied to the Estonian embassy in Beijing and they are communicating with the victim's family about our investigations," he said.
Asked on the time and the exact location of the incident, SAC Hasnan declined to comment and said the police were still trying to fix the exact time of death.
"Her body has been sent to Hospital Sultanah Aminah for a post-mortem and we are waiting for the final reports," he said.
Soosalu, on her Facebook page, had said that she was in a relationship with a person called Alang Reza since July 3, 2012.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry, when contacted by e-mail, noted that it had been informed of the incident.
"We have been in contact with the family of the deceased, and we are advising them on the necessary arrangements," said spokesman Mariann Sudakov, adding that the Malaysian authorities were leading the investigations.
Pulau Rawa has seen several violent incidents in the past. The last occurred in May 2012 when four foreigners were involved in a brawl with bodyguards after they trespassed into a boat belonging to the Johor Sultan.
Another incident was in October 2005 when a Singapore-based Brazilian couple's wedding was gatecrashed, resulting in a brawl. Several people were injured and four men, including a member of a royal family, were remanded for questioning.