7-Year-Old Locked Up And Left To Starve Because Stepmother Said She Was Possessed

A Year One pupil was found and rescued from a locked flat in Sungai Dua, Butterworth, Penang.

Cover image via The Star Online

A malnourished, abondened and neglected seven-year-old was rescued from her personal hell a few days ago

The seven-year-old girl was rescued on Thursday night when police decided to inspect the unit after questioning her 34-year-old father, who was uncooperative.

The authorities went to the flat in Sungai Dua, Tasek Gelugor, at about 7.15pm after her teacher lodged a police report at about 3.30pm as she had not attended school since Monday.

Why personal hell, you ask? She was found locked in a dark and messy vacant flat with no basic necessities like food and water.

Image via The Star Online

A seven-year-old girl who just started Year One in school was found starving in a locked room inside a flat.

The seven-year-old girl who was abandoned in a messy flat in Tasek Gelulor, Penang for days on end without food, water or electricity supply is recovering in hospital under the watchful eye of the woman cop who found her.

“The team saw her standing in the dark when they opened the door. There was no electricity or water in the flat.”

The state that she was found in was absolutely heartbreaking, it drove the policewoman who found her to despair

North Seberang Prai police chief ACP Abdul Rahman Ibrahim told The Malay Mail that Inspector Hasmah Mustappa Ramdzan, the woman police officer who found the girl, was overcome with emotion upon seeing how frail and traumatised she was.

“Hasmah said she was disheartened when she saw the girl’s condition. She was unable to control her emotions when she saw the girl,” Abdul Rahman said

She had been starved and was so frail and extremely underweight. She also had bruises on her body.

Weighing a meagre 7kg, he said the girl was still too weak from prolonged starvation to be able to digest solid foods at the moment. Recovering at the Seberang Jaya Hospital, he said, “She is seven-years old and she is not supposed to weigh that little.

“She had bruises on her arms and thighs which we believe was caused by someone pinching her,” said ACP Abdul Rahman.

According to a chart (see below) by Disabled World, last updated on August 2014, the average weight for a 7-year-old female should be at 49.5lbs (approximately 22kg). This puts the little girl at 15kg under the average weight!

A chart of the average weight and height of female of different ages

Image via SAYS via Disabled World

The extent of her starvation was so bad that she was unable to eat solid food and had to be put on a soft diet

In relating the condition of the room where the girl was found, Abdul Rahman said, “It was dark inside and the house was so unkempt and when we found the poor girl, she was too weak and only asked for food.”

The girl was still too weak from prolonged starvation to be able to digest solid foods at the moment. “She is on a soft diet.”

“She is currently on a soft diet, including milk supplements. The patient keeps to herself, but will answer simple questions. She is currently in good hands and being attended to by the paediatric team.”

"She needs a lot of love and care, and she also needs to be pampered," said the police chief

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Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said police believed that the victim went without food for more than a week based on her health condition.

“She asked for food and to be carried.”

Commenting on her traumatised state, Abdul Rahman said, “She needs a lot of love and care, and she also needs to be pampered.”

The stepmother, the source of the girl's misery, reasoned her vicious act by saying that she believes the girl is “possessed by evil spirits”

The stepmother of a seven-year-old girl who was rescued weak, starving and bruised from a locked flat unit here on Thursday claims that the girl was possessed by evil spirits.

A neighbour, who wished to be known only as Kak Timah, said the woman made the claim to several people in the neighbourhood of the Sungai Dua Utama flats.

While expressing relief that the girl was rescued, neighbours claimed the stepmother had locked the girl as she was “possessed by evil spirits”.

Kak Timah said the family had been starving the SK Desa Murni Year One pupil because she had been feeding the spirits dwelling inside her body with food given to her.

The stepmother even said that was the reason the family decided to lock up and starve her for a week — to “control” the spirit from disturbing her, claimed Timah.

She did not want to feed the girl because she believed that by feeding the girl, she is nourishing the evil spirit that is within the little girl

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“Once she told us that the food eaten by the girl was not nourishing her own body, but the spirit dwelling inside her,” she said.

“I also heard another version of her telling others that the girl was ill and had no appetite.

“I just couldn’t believe my ears when the woman told us that her daughter had been feeding spirits through food given to her.

The seven-year-old girl would never have been found if it were not for her father's own greed

Police had gone to the flat after a teacher at the girl’s school became concerned when she did not show up after the first day.

“The teacher had also been told by the other teachers at the school that the girl had looked weak and frail.

“The teachers became suspicious when the girl’s father came over to the school on Thursday to collect the RM100 school aid,” ACP Abdul Rahman said at the Seberang Jaya Hospital yesterday where the girl was sent for a medical examination.

The girl is believed to be the only child from her father's first marriage. He is now remarried, with five other children

Police believed the girl was the suspect’s daughter from his first wife, an Indonesian. The couple had separated and the suspect is now living with his se­­cond wife. They have four(sic) children.

Police found the Year One pupil was the only child from her father's first marriage to an Indonesian woman, who left shortly after giving birth to her.

He then married a local woman. They have five children with another one on the way.

What is more shocking is that the father and his new family merely lived across the flat they locked her in

ACP Abdul Rahman said police believe the girl was the suspect’s daughter from his first wife, an Indonesian.

He said the couple had separated and the suspect was now living with his second wife and their five children at another flat nearby.

She was left all alone in the dark without food and water. Her father and his new family lived in a flat just across the unit she was in. They had food and clothes.

The neighbours had no idea that this was happening in their building, not even the security guard

Another neighbour Mohd Suhai­mi Abdullah, 27, said his family was unaware of what went on at the home until police rescued the girl.

Security guard Ahmad Suhaimi Abdullah said he used to see the girl’s father around the flats’ vicinity and he seemed friendly.

“We just nodded to each other but did not talk much,” he said.

“I cannot believe that he can do such a cruel thing to his own daughter.”

When they found out what had happened, they were in disbelief and couldn't comprehend the family's heinous act

“If they do not want the child, they should put her up for adoption,” Kak Timah told reporters yesterday.

“There are many childless couples looking to adopt.”

Another resident, Aishah Mazita, said she was relieved the girl had been rescued.

Aishah found it hard to believe the stepmother’s tales.

“I just couldn’t believe my ears when the woman told us that her daughter had been feeding spirits through food given to her.

In fact, the neighbours showed more act of kindness to the girl than her own family

“We gave her some soy milk to ease her hunger and bought her some rice before sending her to the Seberang Jaya Hospital for observation.

One resident, who only wanted to be known as Liza, said she gave the girl some biscuits after learning she had not been fed.

“When I gave her a piece of bread, she just ate it as if she had not eaten in days.”

The father has been detained. In the meantime, the little girl will be placed in a welfare department while her case is being investigated

North Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said police who had detained the girl’s father, were now questioning the stepmother.

“Investigation is still ongoing. We will also record statements from other people, including the victim’s neighbours,” he said.

Abdul Rahman said the girl would be handed over to the Welfare Department upon her discharge from hospital.

Women, Family and Community Development deputy minister Chew Mei Fun said her ministry, through the Social Welfare Department, would look into the case.

Although traumatised, the 7-year-old is currenly making a slow recovery

Image via

A doctor from the Seberang Jaya Hospital said the abandoned seven-year-old girl rescued on Thursday was recovering at a “slow rate”.

“We have cleaned her up. She responds to our queries in one or two words only,” said the doctor, who requested anonymity. “We tried to cheer her up, but to no avail. She keeps to herself most of the time.”

The doctor said the girl was still badly shaken.

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