Siblings of abused girl, whose remains were found in a pot, are in alternative care: MSF
The siblings of the two-year-old girl - who was abused to death and whose parents burned her body in a pot to hide their crime - have been placed in alternative care by the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) Child Protective Service.
Alternative care means that the children can be placed in the care of family or friends, in foster care, or in a voluntary children’s home.
The Child Protective Service has also been giving her siblings the necessary support, a MSF spokesman told The Straits Times.
The MSF spokesman said they are unable to provide more information about the case, as Court proceedings for the girl’s mother are still ongoing.
The couple is reported to have five other children besides the girl, Umaisyah.
On Sept 19, her father was sentenced to a total of 21½ years’ jail and 18 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to a charge of culpable homicide for causing her death, by forcefully slapping her multiple times and failing to provide her with medical aid.
The 35-year-old man also pleaded guilty to three other charges for ill-treating his six-year-old stepson, rioting and consumption of methamphetamine.
High Court judge Aedit Abdullah, who lifted the gag order on Umaisyah’s name, said: “It is important to my mind that we all remember her by her name.”
He noted that the girl was robbed of any opportunity of growing up, developing her own identity and leading a fulfilling life.
The couple has four children from their union, including Umaisyah. The mother, 34, also has two children from a previous marriage.
Umaisyah was placed in foster care since she was three to four-months-old as her father was detained in a drug rehabilitation centre, while her mother was assessed to be unable to take care of her.
She was returned to the couple about two years later, but the father abused her until she died. The man had abused least two of the other children as well.
In March 2014, the couple were upset with Umaisyah for playing with her faeces after soiling her diaper. When the girl cried, her mother slapped her on the cheek.
Her father, who had taken the drug methamphetamine that morning, slapped her on the face two to three times.
Prosecutors said the father’s assaults caused significant traumatic brain injury, which led to the girl’s death.
To cover their crime, the couple burned her body in a metal pot and hid the pot in a sealed box stored underneath the stove in their rental flat.
Over the years, they spun various lies to hide her death, including to a Ministry of Education officer who contacted them to find out why the girl was not registered for Primary One.
The crime was only uncovered when Umaisyah’s uncle found the pot and showed it to his friends, who reported it to the Police.
In Sept 2019, the couple was charged with murder.
In March 2021, the mother was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for her murder charge. This means she can still be prosecuted for the offence later, depending on the evidence that emerges.
She faces 12 other charges, including ill-treating another four of her children. These charges are pending in the State Courts.
In response to media queries about the girl’s death and the child protection system, the MSF had said in 2019 it is “reviewing how the network of agencies and community organisations can be further strengthened”.
This was because there were various interactions between Umaisyah’s family and various agencies and community groups over the years, the MSF had said without elaborating.