They were likely husband and wife, but he now stands suspected of her murder.
The 30-year-old Vietnamese woman found dead in an Ang Mo Kio flat on Thursday and the 40-year-old Singaporean arrested for allegedly killing her are assumed by the police to be married, said Embassy of Vietnam Singapore's second secretary, Mr Huan Nguyen Cong.
Speaking to The Straits Times yesterday, Mr Cong said the police contacted the embassy on Thursday night, but revealed scant information beyond the victim's nationality, the whereabouts of her immediate family members, and her relationship with her accused murderer.
The dead woman has a sister in Malaysia who is coming to Singapore, and the rest of her family members are in Vietnam, said Mr Cong. The embassy is trying to get in touch with them there, and will provide assistance to the family when they get here.
The drama that unfolded on Thursday shocked the relatively quiet Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood.
Some residents heard quarrelling and the sound of dishes being thrown about early in the morning, culminating in a woman's cries at about 9am.
Silence followed, but the police were called in, reportedly by the suspect himself - known only as "Jack" to neighbours - at about 12.30pm.
Officers arrived to find the suspect in the two-room rental flat at Block 406, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, and the woman in the bedroom. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene, and Jack was arrested about four hours later.
Little is known about the murder suspect, who neighbours said kept to himself despite having lived in the flat for many years.
He was, however, known to have brought various women speaking in foreign languages back to his flat. He is believed to have worked in a nightclub along Jalan Besar.
The Straits Times understands that the victim was identified at the mortuary by a relative yesterday.
This article was first published on Nov 22, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.