Singaporean murdered in Hawaii: Divorce request may have triggered shooting

Barely a month after she relocated to Hawaii, a Singaporean woman was shot and killed by her American husband.

According to Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News, the murder may have been triggered after the woman had asked for a divorce.

Hawaiian authorities received a call at 4:30am local time on Monday morning (10:30 Singapore time) about a Singaporean woman, Ms Tara Irdawati Isnin, 33, who was shot dead by her her husband, Leo Chavez, 40, at the 19th floor of an apartment block located in Honolulu.

Reports by media outlets in Hawaii said that Ms Tara was pronounced dead on the spot by ambulance personnel who first responded to the scene. The police were notified immediately after the medical personnel found Mr Chavez unconscious, as well as several suspicious clues.

It was also reported that the scene was gruesome, with blood splattered along the hallway, living room and bedroom. Ms Tara was found motionless on the sofa with multiple bruises.

The murder suspect was also found unconscious with a gunshot wound. He has since been detained in the hospital.

Murder suspect shot himself in the face in suicide attempt

A day before the murder happened, two gun shots were heard from the area.

Ms Tara's neighbours told reporters that they did not hear any guns shots on the day that the murder was discovered, but had heard two shots between 9pm on Saturday night and 3am in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Hawaiian police who investigated the shots found nothing amiss. Authorities are now investigating if the gun shots heard on Saturday night are related to Monday's murder.

The police were again activated on Monday morning after ambulance personnel found the alleged murderer unconscious with a bullet wound to his right cheek. A weapon at the scene was seized for investigations. It is believed that the suspect, Mr Chavez, attempted suicide after murdering his wife.

Hawaiian news outlets reported that Mr Chavez was serving in the US Army. A US Army criminal investigation officer was also on scene to investigate the murder.

Deceased was a corporate communications manager with real estate company Savills

According to Ms Tara's Linkedin profile, she worked as a corporate communications manager for real estate consultancy firm Savills.

Ms Tara's friends said that they knew each other sometime last year, and decided to tie the knot barely a year into their relationship. They got married in Hawaii in early August.

After the marriage, Ms Tara returned to Singapore briefly to prepare for her permanent move to Hawaii.

Her friends pointed out that Ms Tara had thoughts of divorce even before she returned to Hawaii, and this may have led to a premeditated murder.

Shin Min Daily News also understands that Ms Tara's brother is preparing to fly in to Hawaii to claim her body.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said that MFA is aware of the incident and is in contact with the next-of-kin in Singapore to provide consular assistance.

Told her good friend on Saturday that she was at her wits end

The deceased was originally scheduled to return back to Singapore next Tuesday (Nov 5), but she later confided to a friend on Saturday that she was at her "wits end", and said that she was not able to tolerate being with her husband .

Ms Tara's friends revealed that she wanted to return to Singapore to see her daughter after being apart for six weeks. The air tickets were already booked, and Ms Tara even had plans to bring her daughter to Resorts World Sentosa, as well as to meet some of her friends.

It therefore came as a shock when Ms Tara's friend received a text message from her, saying that she had reached her "saturation point".

Her friend added that even though Ms Tara appeared to be happy in the numerous pictures she posted online, her friend wondered if she was truly happy, but decided not probe further as Ms Tara was a natrually optimistic person who believed that "love conquers all".

Suspect was over-possessive and controlling her every action

Ms Tara's friend said that Mr Chavez was very possessive, and demanded that Ms Tara report her every move to him, otherwise he would blow his top.

The night before Ms Tara left for Hawaii, she got into a huge quarrel with her husband. Mr Chavez also shouted at her, "If you are not keen on coming [to Hawaii], then forget it!"

Ms Tara was then at Newton Food Centre having dinner when he called. They ended up quarrelling because she did not report her location to him.

Such quarrels were not uncommon, and Mr Chavez was always threatening to divorce, Shin Min Daily News reported.

According to Ms Tara's friend, Ms Tara and Mr Chavez had the intention to marry for a long time, but ended the relationship somewhere in April and May. Then, they got into a heated argument over the lack of parking lots when they were out for dinner. They reconciled a month later.

"As her sisters, we weren't agreeable to their marriage, and we kept persuading her to come back [to Singapore] even after she left for Hawaii, but she was so adamant because she loved him so much," her friend said.

Deceased had a 4-yr-old child in previous marriage with Australian man

Records from the Registry of Marriages showed that Ms Tara was previously to an Australian man in 2006, the Chinese paper reported.

Ms Tara leaves behind a four year old daughter, who is currently living with her father in Singapore.

Ms Tara friends said that Ms Tara wanted to bring her daughter over to Hawaii after she had settled down.

When Ms Tara's family broke the bad news to her ex-husband and her daughter, her daughter appeared calm.