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American confesses to murder of Canadian English teacher, revisits scene of crime in New Taipei

American man confesses to murder of Canadian English teacher, takes police to scene of crime in New Taipei City

Bent being escorted by Police.

Bent being escorted by Police. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- One of the two prime suspects in the Aug. 21 grisly homicide and dismemberment of a Canadian English Teacher, has confessed to the murder and taken police to the scene of the crime a few days ago, according to the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB).

American male Ewart Odane Bent, 30, who was arrested on Aug. 24 for the murder of 43-year-old Canadian English teacher Ryan Sanjay Ramgahan, admitted to premeditated homicide and confirmed the second suspect, 37-year-old American tattoo artist Oren Shlomo Mayer, also took part in the murder. Bent, who did not confess to the crime until Mayer had been extradited back to Taiwan from the Philippines on Sept. 17, took police to the scene of the gruesome murder a few days ago.

Ramgahan, Bent and Mayer had originally collaborated on selling marijuana, mainly to foreigners, especially at the Taipei nightclub Triangle, where Bent worked as a bouncer. However, after a number of their colleagues had been arrested on drug-related charges, Bent confirmed to investigators that he and Mayer had come to the conclusion that Ramgahan was a police informant and they began to plot his murder.

Bent said that he and Mayer lured Ramgahan to visit the usual spot where they usually purchased marijuana from him at the riverside park near Zhongzheng Bridge in New Taipei City's Yonghe District to make another transaction. Bent and Mayer rode YouBikes to the park, where they saw Ramgahan walking his faithful dog "Lulu". They played with the pet and struck up a casual conversation.

They then led Ramgahan to a riverside embankment, where the three drank beers together and chatted. After Ramgahan had become inebriated, Bent says that Mayer choked Ramgahan to death with a wire chord, before he and Mayer chopped Ramgahan's body with into eight chunks with machetes.

Bent says they then took Ramgahan's remains and placed them into plastic trash bags, which they threw into the Sindian River (新店溪) at high tide. However, when the water level dropped to low tide, Ramgahan's remains were still unexpectedly there the next day.

When he showed police the scene of the horrific killing, Bent shuddered and broke down in tears saying, "Please don't make me think back to such a terrible thing."

After the murder, Bent said that the two took off their blood-stained clothes, burned them, and tossed them into the river.

Due to visa problems, Bent said that Mayer had already purchased a ticket before the murder on Aug. 18. After Mayer fled to the Philippines, Bent said that he thought his accomplice might return to Taiwan and feared retribution if he admitted anything, so he waited until the suspect was in police custody in Taiwan before he confessed to his role in the crime.

Prosecutors are now planning on investigating whether Taiwanese-Canadian Wu Hsuan (吳宣), who goes by the English name Dan Wu and is a promoter for the Taipei nightclub Triangle, was involved in the murder. Bent said that Wu had been entrusted by Mayer to monitor the Taipei side of the Sindian River and set off fireworks when Ramgahan neared the meeting point in the riverside park.

Though Wu initially said that he "watched their backs" during the murder, he later changed his story and claimed that after spotting Ramgahan, he left the scene and was not aware of the details of what transpired afterwards. As his accounts of his role in the murder have been inconsistent, police are considering having him submit to a polygraph test.

Ramgahan was murdered on Aug. 21 and his dismembered body was found by two of his friends on Aug. 22. On Aug. 24, Bent was arrested on suspicion of the murder after GPS positioning records from his cell phone showed that he was at the scene of the crime when police believed it took place.

Also on Aug. 24, Wu was arrested after he was found to have purchased the machetes used to dismember Ramgahan. Wu told police he visited a store on Xining South Road in Taipei City’s Wanhua District on August 16 to look at the knives on offer, claiming they were for self defense.

He then returned two days later to buy two of them, before handing them over to his American friend later that day.

On Sept. 5, after an extensive manhunt, Philippines police raided the apartment Mayer was staying at in Cambridge Village in Cainta, Rizal Province and successfully arrested him. Mayer was then extradited to Taiwan from the Philippines on Sept. 19.