Maid who slashed toddler said to be a religious person

Relatives of Koay Jia Hong and Melvin Selvan Joseph leaving Sungai Buloh Hospital mortuary yesterday.

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The maid who allegedly slashed a toddler and his half-brother at their Taman Sri Putra home in Sungai Buloh on Tuesday before committing suicide, was said to be a religious person.

Sungai Buloh police chief Superintendent Junaidi Bujang said investigators were told that the maid in her 30s, known as Agnes, was a devout Christian who read the Bible in her free time.

"Police are trying to establish what caused the maid to commit such a crime. We were informed that she was religious.

"The victims' family said the boys were very close to her, especially the toddler as she had cared for him since his birth," he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, officials from the Indonesian Embassy here offered their assistance into the case.

The embassy's counsellor (consular affairs) Dino Nurwahyudin said they would trace Agnes' friend, who had introduced the maid to the victims' family.

"The Malaysian police have acquired Agnes' cell phone. We are trying to reach her family in Indonesia and people she spoke to prior to the incident.

"As there were no documents to establish her identity, we are hoping to find someone who can shed some light on why she did this."

Indonesian police attaché to Malaysia, Aby Nursetyanto said they were informed that Agnes was introduced to the victims' family by her friend, who had worked for them.

"The friend was the family's maid before Agnes. She had introduced Agnes to them when she had to quit to follow her husband, who worked in Johor, about one and a half years ago.

"This friend could be the key to Agnes' identity, and whether she came here legally."

He said the embassy could not be certain of Agnes' nationality without proper documentation. However, he said based on Agnes's physical features, she could be from East Indonesia.

In Tuesday's incident, Agnes had allegedly slashed the throats of half brothers, 5-year-old Koay Jia Hong and 18-month-old Melvin Selvan Joseph, before turning the knife on herself at the family's home in Taman Sri Putra, Sungai Buloh.

Melvin's father Selvan Joseph, 44, said he still could not believe that Agnes would hurt the boys who were very close to her.

"Agnes was very close to the kids and loved them. There was also no problem between her and other family members," he said at the mortuary, here, yesterday.

Joseph, who had separated from his wife and lived in a house near the family since a year ago, said the victims' family brought Agnes along for dinner the night before the incident.

Meanwhile, police said the results of the post-mortem examination confirmed that Agnes had committed suicide.

Results showed she had minor wounds on her chest, believed to have been caused by an aborted attempt to stab herself. There were also minor 'hesitation wounds' on her neck, which led to her slitting her own throat.