Sat, 27 Jul 1996

Police identify suspect killer of street boys

JAKARTA (JP): After three weeks of investigation, the East Jakarta police have identified the man suspected of killing and mutilating eight street boys in Jakarta.

"The hunt for the suspect, who is also from the street community, has begun," City Police Spokesman Lt. Col. Iman Haryatna told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

But the officer refused to provide the identity of the suspect. Some police sources have said the suspect's alias is Robot.

After finding the body of the latest victim, 11-year-old Kasikin, in Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta, on July 5, a special police team arrested at least four homeless men, aged between 30 and 60 years.

The four, who are still detained at the East Jakarta police precinct, have been accused of sodomizing several street boys.

One of the four men told police interrogators that he saw Kasikin going with the suspect before he was murdered.

Other leads have come from the dozens of street children that the police have detained and questioned for having allegedly been sexually abused.

Based on these leads and forensic reports, the police began reconstructing the serial murders.

On Thursday, the police boarded some cargo trains which pass through Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, and Pondok Kopi to see if it was possible for the suspect to carry the bodies and throw them off the trains.

The decomposed bodies of the eight boys, aged between nine and 15, were found in different places in Kemayoran or Pondok Kopi.

The trains, which also operate early morning, link Bekasi in the east and Tanjung Priok in the north.

Head of the East Jakarta police detectives, Maj. Endang Sunjaya, who led the train investigation, has refused to comment on whether the suspect used the cargo trains to carry the bodies.

The police are yet to find the suspects' home where he allegedly sodomized the boys.

Like many other vagabonds in the city, the suspect is believed to have moved frequently in Central Jakarta.

Noted forensic scientist Abdul Mun'im Idries recently reported that the suspect had strangled the victims and then sliced their stomachs open at the locations where the bodies were found.

Judging from the wounds on the victims' necks, the senior forensic scientist said that the suspect was strong.

The victims, four of whom remain unidentified, were found naked or semi-naked with their stomachs torn out. In most cases, the police found a razor, a cigarette butt and the victims' clothes near the decomposed bodies.

The bodies were found with L, C or U-shaped wounds on their stomachs. The wounds were between 14 and 90 centimeters long.

The serial killings have challenged the Jakarta police because such cases are rare in Indonesia.

Dozens of plainclothes police detectives were deployed yesterday to search street people's huts for the suspect.

To allow the police detectives to proceed with their investigation smoothly, spokesman Iman urged the media to avoid reporting the details of the current police findings.

"There are a lot of examples where our work has become useless because the media hasn't helped us by not revealing details," Iman said. (bsr)

Editorial -- Page 4