A 48-year-old man in Singapore has been charged with the murder of his twin sons, whose bodies were discovered in a storm canal near a public playground in a quiet, hilly neighbourhood where the family lives.
Police officers confirmed that they had received a call for help from a 48-year-old man named Xavier Yap at the playground on Friday evening. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the motionless bodies of Yap’s 11-year-old sons, lying in the canal with cushions scattered around.
Residents living around the playground told local reporters that they had seen police vehicles and ambulances arriving into the night, and also saw officers entering the forested area surrounding the canal with sniffer dogs.
The boys were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. They were said to have special needs and attended a school in the area.
Since news of the deaths broke on Friday, members of the public, including religious officials who held a prayer session near the crime scene, have visited to lay flowers, letters and other offerings in memory of the twins. VICE World News visited the park where the bodies were first discovered and found groups of people paying tribute—some praying and others like teacher Melody Liu bringing bubble tea as offerings.
Liu said she and her husband had been very affected by news of the tragedy.
“It’s terrible that this had to happen to children,” she said. “I can’t imagine what the family must have been dealing with, and we’ll likely never know but my heart goes out to the little boys.”
She recalled the case of another child, eight-year-old Chinese national Huang Na, who was abducted and murdered in 2004 in a case that shook Singapore. “Children getting killed in Singapore in 2022, I can’t believe this has happened,” she said.
Few details are known yet about the circumstances of the boys’ deaths. But on Monday morning, the father appeared before a district court via video link to have a murder charge read out to him. Wearing a white polo shirt, he reportedly remained expressionless as he was charged with the murder of his sons.
He is assisting with police investigations, prosecutors said, and his case will return to court on Jan. 31. Murder carries the death penalty in Singapore. The boys’ mother has not yet been interviewed, but the family’s lawyer has said that she has requested space and privacy.
Bouquets of fresh white roses, as well as sweets, snacks and toys lined the edge of the canal where the bodies were found. Drawings and handwritten letters were also found among the offerings.
“You will forever be missed by everyone,” one letter read. Dylan Chen, working for the Nirvana Memorial Garden funeral parlour in Singapore, told VICE World News that he had stopped by the area to offer funeral arrangements for the family.
“That’s the least anyone can do. This was completely shocking and heartbreaking and we’d be glad to offer our services for the twins in any way.”
Muhammad Farid, a bus driver at a school for autistic children who often drives through the estate, called the murders shocking.
“No one can tell what the family was going through, but at the end of the day I hope the children will find justice and their mother a sense of peace,” he said.
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