FOR carpenter Chee Ah Sau, who had six children, his greatest pride was his third child, Chee Gaik Yap.
She was academically the brightest in the family, being the only one who had made it into university, graduated and landed herself a job as a marketing executive with a factory.
A simple man, Ah Sau was overjoyed when the 25-year-old Universiti Utara Malaysia graduate told her family that her employer would be sending her to Germany for training.
But fate struck a cruel blow and the family’s world came crashing down on Jan 14, 2006.
Concerned for the safety of her younger sister Gaik Choon, who had planned to go jogging at a park not far from their house in Sungai Petani, Kedah that day, Gaik Yap decided to accompany her to the track at the Cinta Sayang Club at Taman Ria Jaya.
It was 6pm when they began their run. Being more athletic, Gaik Yap, who was a martial arts exponent, ran faster than Gaik Choon and was way ahead until the younger sibling lost sight of her sister.
When it was time to go home, Gaik Choon searched for her but she was nowhere to be found.
Thinking that Gaik Yap had gone home, she headed back, only to find her sister had not returned.
She went back to the jogging track and looked for her again, stumbling on a shoe belonging to Gaik Yap and bloodstains at the spot.
Fearing the worst, she contacted her family before police were alerted.
A massive search party comprising police, family members and friends followed at the jogging track until the grim news was delivered to them hours past midnight.
A passer-by had found Gaik Yap’s body near a golf course not far from where she went jogging.
She was raped and sodomised before her killer slit her throat and left her for dead semi-nude in some thick undergrowth.
Police went to work to bring the perpetrator to book in the coming days. About two dozen people were arrested but released after their DNA samples did not match seminal fluid found at the crime scene.
Months and years passed and the case turned cold, leaving Gaik Yap’s family exasperated.
However, Ah Sau never gave up seeking justice for his beloved daughter.
He continued pressuring the authorities and called on the public to come forward if they had clues on the killer.
Three years later in 2009, the case took a positive turn when a car dealer was arrested over the case.
The suspect, Sharil Jaafar (pix), is the son of a jewellery businessman with a Datuk title.
However, his family managed to bail him out just days before his DNA test results were ready and Sharil fled to Australia.
After he jumped bail, it was found that his DNA matched the traces found on the victim.
Sharil, who lived near the crime scene, was put on a wanted list.
Just three days after Gaik Yap’s sixth death anniversary, Sharil decided to return home on Jan 17, 2012. He was arrested upon arrival at the KL International Airport.
About two weeks later, he was charged for her murder but was acquitted the following year by the Alor Star High Court on grounds that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The victim’s family continued their fight for justice and launched a campaign for the case to be reheard in court.
In 2014, the prosecution appealed against the High Court decision and Sharil was back in the dock. After a retrial, he was found guilty and given the death sentence.
In January 2018, he exhausted his final appeal against the death penalty when the Federal Court upheld the sentence. After years of attempting to evade paying for his crime, the gallows now await the killer.
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Evening jog ends tragically for marketing executive