Wed, 31 Mar 1999

Muhammadiyah student found dead near home

JAKARTA (JP): A female student from the University of Muhammadiyah was found dead early Tuesday floating in a drain near her house in Desa Cipayung, Ciputat, South Jakarta.

The victim was identified as 24-year-old Santi Sofarina, a student in the education faculty at the university. She lived on Jl. Juanda (also known as Jl. Ciputat Raya).

According to her relatives, Santi left her house shortly after performing her predawn prayer. She was going to Al Hikmah Mosque in Mampang Prapatan for a class on memorizing Koranic verses.

Santi, who also was active in a number of social causes, is believed to have been killed before arriving at the mosque, said her cousin, Hasim Purnama.

Local police detectives said Santi's body -- still in her Muslim dress -- was found by one of her neighbors, Abdul Azis, at 5 a.m.


Azis called local police, who combed the scene for possible evidence. Officers believe the murder took place only a few hours before the body was discovered.

The only injuries on the victim's body were a number of bruises around her neck. Judging from the marks, police suspect Santi was choked by her killers before being dumped in the drain.

In the drain, officers found a black leather bag containing an umbrella, a small towel and a charity coupon book which read Aksi Peduli Ambon (Care Action for Ambon) across the top.

"We hope these things can lead police to the killers," Lubis said, adding the bag and its contents were at South Jakarta Police Headquarters for further investigation.

Lubis said police did not know whether the murder was linked to Santi's association with various social causes.

He said local detectives were still checking whether the coupon book belonged to Santi.

Santi's body was taken to Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Central Jakarta for a postmortem examination.

According to Hasim, Santi was very active in social causes, such as giving free religious lessons to children in her neighborhood.

"She often received phone calls from her friends who were also active in social causes," he said. (01/emf)