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13-year search for Felicia Teo: How fate of missing teen was uncovered

13-year search for Felicia Teo: How fate of missing teen was uncovered
Ms Felicia Teo's disappearance in 2007 made headlines when her family and friends refused to believe she had run away.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

As with most 19-year-olds, Felicia Teo was street-wise and fun-loving.

At a Clarke Quay bar where she worked part-time, colleagues described her as a "responsible worker".

But one night in June 2007, Ms Teo disappeared, never to be seen again.

Her mother last saw her on the evening of June 29, when she left her home in Bain Street to attend a party at Lasalle College of the Arts, where she was a final-year Diploma in Fine Arts student.

After the party, she went to a block at Marine Terrace with two friends - Ahmad Danial Mohamed Rafa'ee, who was then 22, and Indonesian Ragil Putra Setia Sukmarahjana, who was then 18.

A security camera at the block, where Mr Ragil was living, is believed to have captured the last known images of Ms Teo alive as she took the lift up to the flat with the two men.

Alarm bells started ringing when she failed to turn up for a close friend's wedding the next day.

Ms Teo was always reachable by phone, but suddenly, calls and texts all went unanswered.

For the next two weeks, her friends and family, about 100 of them, frantically searched for her.

They combed her favourite hangouts, including those at Marine Parade, Clarke Quay and East Coast.


Her mother filed a police report on July 3, and thousands of missing person fliers were handed out asking for information on the 1.7m tall, slim, slightly tanned girl with short, black hair.

Within a month of her going missing, the search had made national headlines, with pictures of Ms Teo splashed across various newspapers.

The search party had swelled to more than 200 people, extending the search to Woodlands, Yishun and Geylang.

It even went beyond the Causeway, as her parents, who were worried she might have been abducted and taken overseas, spent an entire day in Johor Bahru showing photos of her to strangers asking if they had seen her.

But it drew a blank.

Instead, her family and friends became targets of gossip and hoaxes.

The New Paper reported then that they received prank calls and false information, leading them on wild goose chases around the island.

One false post online claimed that Ms Teo had run away, having taken to drinking, and was living with a man after failing an exam.

Another especially cruel one claimed he saw Ms Teo in a dream, being tortured and begging for help.


For a long time, many of Ms Teo's loved ones were clinging to the hope that she will be found.

By 2011, her mother began telling anyone who asked about her daughter that she had settled abroad.

In an interview with The Sunday Times that year, she shared how she found comfort in imagining her daughter had married and moved to a different country.

She refused to move out of the Bain Street flat, praying that Ms Teo would come home one day.

The police worked on the case through the years to find any possible leads, constantly engaging Ms Teo's family members to check if they had any new information to share.

The breakthrough finally came in 2020, when a fresh screening of Ms Teo's MacBook revealed Ahmad had come into possession of it, despite him claiming in 2007 that she had left the flat with all of her belongings.

He was arrested and convicted on Friday (Oct 14).

More than 13 years since her disappearance, the tragic truth came to light.

And so ended the search for Felicia Teo.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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