Mystery surrounds woman's death

SANDAKAN - Mystery surrounds the death of a woman whose charred remains were found in a terrace house gutted by a fire in Taman Indah Jaya.

Police are now trying to ascertain the identity of the woman - whose remains were found in a bedroom - and looking at all possible angles into her death, including murder.

Some family members have come forward to assist police in identifying the woman, even as DNA samples were taken from the body which has been sent to the Duchess of Kent Hospital for a post-mortem.

Sandakan deputy police chief Supt Fadzil Mohd Ali said forensic teams were combing the house for more leads into the possible cause of the fire, which took place at 8pm on Friday.

According to neighbours, the house was believed to be occupied by one Hasna Astan, a 42-year-old Sabah Forestry Department staff member and a divorcee with two children, aged seven and eight.

However, if the body is later proved to be hers, the whereabouts of her children are unknown.

Police said they had yet to determine the whereabouts of the two children, hoping that family members would come forward and assist in the investigation.

Sandakan Fire and Rescue Services officer Dewi Rashedee Ensoi said firemen only found one body inside the house.

Firemen were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjacent terrace houses in the housing estate at Jalan Utara here.

A downpour during the incident also helped firemen bring the fire under control.