TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Surveillance camera video has surfaced showing an Iraqi man, who was accused of murdering his in-laws, carrying his son as he walks toward Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Surveillance camera footage released by Taipei police on Thursday (May 2) shows the suspect, identified by prosecutors as 31-year-old Ali Hammad Jumaah, carrying his 1-year-old one in his left arm and dragging a suitcase in his right hand on Tuesday (April 30), a day before the dead bodies of his Taiwanese in-laws were discovered.
Police say that the suspect then booked a direct flight with his son to Tokyo's Narita International Airport that departed at 8 a.m. that morning, reported UDN.
Jumaah had met the boy’s Taiwanese mother, surnamed Hsiao (蕭), during their studies in the United States, and the family later married and settled in Japan. After Hsiao's parents retired, they would send money earned from their real estate property in Taipei to the young couple to help support them.
Jumaah (left) and Hsiao (right). (Photo from Jumaah's Facebook page)
After allegations of domestic violence, Hsiao brought her son with her to stay with her parents on March 27, reported ETtoday. The Iraqi man reportedly arrived in Taiwan from Japan, where he works as an assistant professor of English at the International College of Technology, Kanazawa, on April 26, according to the report.
He visited his parents-in-law home almost every day, leading to heated discussions about the boy’s custody, according to local media. On Sunday (April 28), Jumaah's wife left her parent's house to stay with a friend for two days.
At 8:39 a.m. on Wednesday (May 1), the bodies of Hsiao's father and her mother, surnamed Chuang (莊), both who were in their seventies, were found at their Taipei City home, strangled with towels and belts, while the young boy was missing. Hsiao immediately suspected that her husband had committed the crime and alerted the police.
Jumaah with his son. (Photo from Jumaah's Facebook page)
Police suspect that the murders took place at some point between the night of April 29 and early morning of April 30. In the surveillance video, Jumaah is seen in surveillance video walking on his way to the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport while carrying his son at 1:31 a.m. on April 30.
Authorities believe that Jumaah and his son then boarded a flight to Dubai that evening and arrived in Dubai International Airport early on the morning of May 1, reported ETtoday.
While Hsiao was filing a report with police in the afternoon that day, she suddenly received a video call on the app LINE from her husband at 4 p.m., reported UDN. Jumaah claimed that he had arrived in Baghdad with their son and said the reason he had made the call was because the boy had been crying for his mother, and after showing the child's face briefly, he hung up.
Jumaah. (CNA photo)
Although the boy appeared unharmed in the video chat, Hsiao is very worried about the safety of her son. Prosecutors suspect that Jumaah was deliberately lying about his location to hamper the progress of the police investigation.
The Shilin District Prosecutor's Office has issued a warrant for the arrest of Jumaah on suspicion of committing felony homicide which will be in effect until Oct. 30, 2056.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) also issued a warrant for Jumaah's arrest and the liaison officer in Japan has informed Japanese police of the relevant information. The CIB's Japanese counterparts have set up a special team to investigate the case, but it is difficult to assess how much assistance it can provide in the future.
Jumaah (second from right) with soccer teammates. (Photo from Jumaah's Facebook page)
The CIB says that as Taiwan and Japan do not have diplomatic relations, there is no mutual legal assistance agreement and the suspect is an Iraqi national. If the suspect has indeed returned to Baghdad from Japan, the lack of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Iraq will make it even more difficult to bring the suspect to justice.
Jumaah (center). (Screenshot of surveillance footage released by Taipei Police Department)