• Directory of Taiwan

Son of suspected American accomplice to New Taipei murder dies

Son of American English teacher suspected of being accomplice to grisly New Taipei murder suddenly dies

Jason Eugene Hobbie. (Photo from Hobbie's Facebook page)

Jason Eugene Hobbie. (Photo from Hobbie's Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An American English teacher, the fourth suspect in the gruesome murder and dismemberment of a Canadian English teacher, was informed of the sudden death of his 19-year-old son in the U.S. and lawyers are seeking his release to enable him to grieve for his child.

The suspect, a 46-year-old English teacher named Jason Eugene Hobbie (何傑生), was arrested in his sleep on Oct. 18 of last year for allegedly helping fellow suspects, 37-year-old tattoo artist Oren Shlomo Mayer and 30-year-old former marine Ewart Odane Bent to, burn the evidence from the grisly murder of 43-year-old Canadian English teacher Ryan Sanjay Ramgahan.

Based on Bent's testimony, witness accounts, evidence gathered, and surveillance footage, prosecutors suspect he played a major role in the sadistic slaying of Ramgahan, reported Up Media. On Oct. 19 of last year, the court decided that because Hobbie is accused of a felony which could result in a prison sentence of at least five years, and there was a high probability that he could attempt to flee or conspire with the other suspects or witnesses, it ordered him to be held incommunicado, reported China Times.

On April 17 this year, while being questioned by the New Taipei City District Prosecutor's Office, Hobbie's lawyer and interpreter informed him that his 19-year-old son had suddenly died in his sleep in the U.S., reported Liberty Times. When he was notified of his son's death, tears began streaming down his face and he covered his face as he began to cry, according to the report.

In the wake of his son's death, Hobbie's attorneys are requesting that the ban on his travel outside the country be lifted or that he at least be allowed to contact his family members in the U.S. A panel of judges will make a decision on the matter after deliberation.

The panel is requesting that the defense provide documents such as a death certificate for reference, before deciding whether to release him on bail or allow him to communicate with his relatives.