A scientist working at a pearl farm in Indonesia was found dead last week after allegedly being mauled by a 600 kilogram, five-meter long crocodile named Mery. Forty-four-year-old Deasy Tuwo was an employee at the CV Yosiki Laboratory in Minahasa, North Sulawesi: a pearl breeding facility owned by a Japanese national who authorities say kept several exotic animals on the farm. Mery was one of those animals, according to Kompas Gramedia, and it was Deasy who was often tasked with feeding the giant reptile.
When Deasy didn’t return from feeding duty on Thursday, her colleagues went to the crocodile’s pond the next day to see if they could locate her. There they found a dismembered body, floating in the water with both arms missing. Police later confirmed it to be Deasy’s remains.
"It's possible that the crocodile jumped from the side [of the pond],” said Maikel Mokodompit, an official at a morgue in Manado where Deasy’s body was taken. Maikel confirmed that Deasy’s head and legs were still attached to her body when she was found, and suggested that “maybe it's because it's still full, so it doesn't eat until it's finished."
A previous crocodile feeder at Yosiki Laboratory explained that workers there had a particular method for feeding Mery, which involved patting the inside of the enclosure until the animal came closer and opened its mouth, before throwing food into its jaws. The ex-employee suggested that Deasey might not have known Mery was beneath her when she patted the inside of the cage.
“She was the head of the lab,” said another colleague. “A quiet person. We're confused about how this has happened.”
Mery has since been sedated and transported to a wildlife sanctuary in Bitung, Coconuts reports, while police are still searching for the crocodile’s owner. According to Tribune Manado, a man by the name of Mr. Ochiai owns the pearl farm and keeps a number of exotic animals there—including specimens of arowana, the world’s most expensive aquarium fish. Mr Ochiai may face criminal charges if it turns out he kept Mery and his other animals without the required permits.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.