S'porean woman shot to death in Hawaii buried

SINGAPORE - The Singaporean woman found dead in her Hawaii home from a gunshot wound to her head has been laid to rest by her family in Singapore.

The body of Madam Tara Irdawati Isnin, 33, who was killed last month, was flown back to Singapore and buried on Saturday at the Muslim cemetery Pusara Abadi in Chao Chu Kang.

About 100 family members and friends, including Madam Tara's former husband and their five-year-old daughter, attended the one-hour burial ceremony.

The ex-husband, an Australian, declined to speak to the media, but relatives told The Sunday Times that he was the one who first found out about Madam Tara's death. When approached, Madam Tara's family also declined to speak.

A relative said Madam Tara would call her daughter every day from Hawaii. "So when the calls stopped... her ex-husband was frantically trying to get in touch with her because their daughter had been asking for her," said Madam Masturah Munawar.

The 54-year-old receptionist, who is Madam Tara's aunt, said the ex-husband found out she was dead only after he managed to speak to one of her friends in Honolulu. "He then broke the news to her parents."

Madam Masturah described her niece and her husband as a loving couple, although some other relatives disapproved of the relationship. "I don't think anyone from Singapore attended their wedding in the US," said Madam Masturah.

"We have also never met his parents or heard from them after her death."

Madam Tara was a corporate communications manager with a real estate firm in Singapore before she left for Hawaii. She was a graduate of Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia.

It is believed she was shot and killed by her American husband Leo Chavez. The 40-year-old is said to have turned the gun on himself in what seems to have been a botched suicide attempt.

Mr Chavez, who serves in the United States Army, is being held in police custody.

The couple met in Singapore last year and moved in August to the US, where they got married.

Madam Tara was found dead in their 19th-floor apartment at Ala Wai Townhouse in Honolulu on Oct 28.

Her uncle, Mr Ramli Asmawi, said he last saw the couple at his daughter's wedding in June. The 43-year-old security officer said: "Although she called home every day, no one knew about her life in the US, where she lived or who she hung out with."

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