BARELY old enough for school but five-year-old Nurul Nadirah Abdullah was already tasked with running errands for her parents.
In the morning of March 1, 2012, Nurul, who was fondly called Dirang by her family, stepped out of her flats at Bandar Seri Alam, Pasir Gudang, Johor Baru to a nearby sundry shop for instant noodles and eggs her mother had asked her to pick up.
The obedient child did as she was told and left for the shop alone.
It was the last time her family saw her alive.
When she did not return more than an hour later, her mother went over to the sundry shop in search of the girl but was told by a shopkeeper that she had left soon after buying the items.
Police were alerted when Nurul, who was the younger child of two siblings, was nowhere to be found in the area and a massive search followed soon after.
Witnesses claimed they had spotted a couple with Nurul not far from the sundry shop before her disappearance.
In the coming days, several people were arrested before investigators received a positive lead into the case, which led them to an oil palm estate within the township.
A week after Nurul’s disapperance, police recovered a charred body of a child from a pit at the plantation. A post-mortem revealed it was Nurul.
Two weeks later, labourer Muidin Maidin, then aged 25, was charged with killing the girl.
It was revealed in the High Court trial that a post-mortem report showed DNA samples found in the girl’s private parts was linked to the accused. A piece of burnt cloth found coiled around her neck was also found to belong to Muidin.
In June, 2013, the accused, who pleaded innocent, was found guilty of murdering Nurul and sentenced to death.
The case had also caught the attention of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhiyiddin Yassin, who was deputy prime minister at the time. Muhiyiddin had conveyed his condolences and extended a financial contribution to the girl’s family through an aide.