Breaking News: American English teacher arrested for suspected role in grisly New Taipei murder

American male arrested as 4th suspect in grisly murder of Canadian English teacher in New Taipei's Yonghe District

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Jason (center). (Image from suspect's Facebook page)

Jason (center). (Image from suspect's Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) --  An American male English teacher has been identified as the fourth suspect in the gruesome murder and dismemberment of a Canadian English teacher and was arrested in his sleep by police early this morning. 

The suspect, identified by SETN as a 46-year-old English teacher named Jason Eugene Hobbie (Chinese name 何傑生), is suspected of helping 37-year-old American tattoo artist Oren Shlomo Mayer to burn the evidence of the grisly murder of 43-year-old Canadian English teacher Ryan Sanjay Ramgahan. Based on testimony by the other American suspect, 30-year-old Ewart Odane Bent, New Taipei police obtained a warrant for Hobbie's arrest and arrived at his home at 8 a.m. this morning. 

When police arrived at his home at 8 a.m. this morning, the door was opened by his eldest daughter preparing to go to school and they presented their warrant for her father's arrest. Hobbie was found to be fast asleep when police entered his room and had a calm demeanor when awoken. Police then searched his home for evidence. 

When questioned by police about his role in the murder, he said that he received a call from Mayer that day asking him, "Do you want to set off fireworks from the riverbank?" reported Liberty Times. Hobbie had ridden his scooter about halfway, when he received a second phone call from Mayer saying, "Our scooter is out of gas, can you please buy some gas for us?"


Hobbie. (Image from Hobbie's Facebook page)

Hobbie says he then purchased 2 liters of gasoline for about NT$60 before proceeding to the riverbank, and then shot off the fireworks a while and then claims to have left without witnessing the murder, reported Apple Daily.  

Police say that Hobbie obtained an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) to live in Taiwan because of his Taiwanese wife. Hobbie reportedly has lived in Taiwan for eight years, has two children, and has been teaching English at cram schools during much of his stay in the country. Based on an interview with Taiwanese media in 2015 and his Facebook profile, he also ran a business growing and selling vegetables, and referred to himself as a "chef."

Police say he met Mayer through their work together as English teachers and he was known to frequent Mayer's tattoo shop. Bent told police that Mayer made a tattoo of a bald eagle on Hobbie's right upper back and police were able to confirm this when they arrested him today.


Hobbie. (Image from Hobbie's Facebook page)

According to a preliminary investigation, police say that Mayer arrived at the scene of the crime at Zhongzheng Bridge in New Taipei City's Yonghe District at 9 p.m. and left at around 10 p.m. Though Hobbie claims to have not witnessed the murder and dismemberment of the victim, police have transferred him to the Prosecutor's Office on suspicion of murder, according to the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Another suspect, 21-year-old Taiwanese-Canadian Wu Hsuan (吳宣), who goes by the English name Dan Wu and is a promoter for the Taipei nightclub Triangle, confessed to have purchased the machetes used in the murder and was released on NT$300,000 (US$9,778) bail in August. Police are still investigating the extent of Wu's involvement in the murder. 


Hobbie (right). (Image from Hobbie's Facebook page)