Warning: This article contains descriptions of suicide. Reader discretion is advised.
A 15-year-old girl killed her grandfather in a Bukit Batok flat before jumping to her death from another block, a coroner's court found on Nov. 29.
The coroner said that it appeared no one else was involved in Teo's death except for his 15-year-old granddaughter, Ellis Teo.
Ellis, whose diary entries showed that she had thoughts of suicide, was found dead at the foot of Block 115 Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 the same day.
Police investigations were not able to determine what exactly transpired between the pair before the tragedy.
Teo and his granddaughter were the only ones in the flat at that time, and there was no CCTV footage of what went on inside the unit.
Investigators have yet to determine any motives for the killing.
Said she did something which would make mum angry
The family — Ellis, her parents and paternal grandfather — lived in a flat at Block 363 Bukit Batok Street 31.
On the day of the incident, Ellis was at home while her parents were at work.
Her grandfather came home at about 2.30pm.
Ellis herself left the block at about 5pm, with a plaster on her left hand.
She made two calls to her mother. She told her mother that she did not wish to go home, and said she had done something which would make the older woman angry.
Afterwards, she took a train and walked to Block 115 Bukit Batok West Avenue 6. There, she took the lift to the 25th storey and jumped down.
The police were alerted at 5.50pm when her motionless body was found on a grass patch below the block.
Grandfather found dead on floor with knife nearby
When her mother returned to the family's flat at 5.30pm, she saw that the family dog's mouth was stained with blood.
She found the body of her father-in-law in the master bedroom, lying on the floor covered in blood, with a knife nearby.
The woman called her husband before picking up the knife to wash and put it away. The court did not hear any reason why she did it.
Her husband alerted the police and called an ambulance.
Paramedics subsequently pronounced the elderly man dead at the scene.
Girl's shirt found in flat stained with grandfather's blood
Seven stab wounds were found on Teo's body, according to an autopsy.
One of Ellis' shirts was found in a mop pail, stained with her grandfather's blood.
Investigations later found that the knife only had Teo's DNA on it, and not Ellis' DNA.
The court heard from the investigation officer that this was likely because her mother had washed it.
The officer also told the court that there was no indication that anyone had broken into the flat.
The only footprints and DNA found at the scene at the time belonged to Ellis and Teo.
Wrote about suicide in her diary
Investigations showed that Ellis' diary contained entries about her mental health struggles and suicidal ideations.
In diary entries dated 2021, she wrote that she was feeling lonely and penned down some methods of dying, including wanting to kill herself from a HDB block.
Ellis' friends knew about her suicidal ideations, but according to the police, her parents were unaware of it and did not suspect anything was amiss.
While Ellis wrote in her diary that she had mental health issues, there were no official medical reports that indicated she had them.
The diary did not show that she bore any hatred or ill intentions towards her grandfather.
The girl only wrote that she had difficulties trying to teach him how to use his phone, as her Chinese was not very good.
The court heard that Ellis was a quiet girl who did not like loud sounds.
An unnamed relative suggested to investigators that Ellis could have been “triggered” by the ringtone of her grandfather's phone.
Nevertheless, the police checked Teo's phone and did not find any messages, calls or alarms set during the period when the killing happened.
Parents warned for obstructing course of justice
The police said they were unable to determine Ellis' motive for killing her grandfather.
Her parents have also been given police warnings for obstructing the course of justice.
None of the girl's family members were present for the Nov. 29 inquiry.
Helplines to seek help or listening ear
If you or someone you know are in mental distress, here are some hotlines you can call to seek help, advice, or just a listening ear:
- SOS 24-hour Hotline: 1-767
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Institute of Mental Health: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
- Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (for primary school-aged children)
Top image: Mothership file photo.