Plot thickens around street-child murder

Plot thickens around street-child murder

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The story of a mutilated body identified incorrectly last week by a woman in Jakarta who thought the body belonged to her then-missing 10-year-old son, Asep Ridwan Saefullah, has turned into somewhat of a murder mystery.

On Thursday Asep walked into the Cakug police station in East Jakarta accompanied by his mother, father and stepfather.

Asep was a few days ago found collecting rubbish on a train by his father and stepfather as they traveled by rail from Bandung to Jakarta.

Asep’s family, who thought they had buried their boy, has been summoned by police for questioning.

The boy was spotted first by his biological father Kusnadi who said his son was being watched carefully by the people who had allegedly employed him to work the streets and trains.

Asep said he had run away from home after receiving a bad school report and being too afraid to confront his mother.

"I was brought by (a man called) DK from Padalarang train station (West Java). He forced me to work as scavenger and street musician," Asep said.

"DK said he would give me a chocolate bar if I wanted to go with him."

The 10-year-old is registered as a fourth grader in the Al Hikmah Islamic School in Bandung, West Java.

Asep said he traveled with DK to several places including Cilegon, Merak, in West Java and as far as Surakarta, in Central Java.

"He hit me with a piece of wood every time I failed to pay him daily fees worth between Rp 25,000 and Rp 40,000," Asep said, showing scars on both his feet.

And he was not the only child who accompanied the man called DK, Asep said.

"There are others. They’re called Asep Salim and Dede."

"All of us slept at one train station after another.

"DK always brings (with him) a samurai and a sickle.

"He (DK) told me that he was (part of) an armed robbery gang in Senen, Central Jakarta."

Meanwhile, a street child — identified as SI — said he recognized the picture of the mis-identified mutilated boy as Andre, a fellow street musician he knew in Pondok Kopi train station, East Jakarta.

SI said he had never met Asep before but said he knew who DK was.

"Andre also (traveled) with DK. They left Padalarang train station and I never saw Andre after that," SI said.

Another street child named TI, said he witnessed seeing a child murdered by DK in a hut near a train station in East Jakarta.

"The boy was asleep after sniffing glue," TI said.

"He was stabbed by DK and then cut into two pieces," he said adding he saw the man taking a bath and cleaning blood stains from his body.

TI said he knew the victim as Damaris.

Both SI and TI were questioned by police.

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