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Kerry Briefed on U.S. Researcher’s Singapore Death

March 08, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

Senator John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State and a Democrat from Massachusetts. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A probe into the death of an American research engineer in Singapore was discussed at a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Democrat Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the family of the deceased said.

Rick Todd said the family disputed the Singapore police’s conclusion that his son, Shane Todd, had committed suicide and they were seeking further investigation into his death. They raised the issue to Baucus, who this week also met with the Singapore ambassador to the U.S.

Kerry “has been fully briefed on what’s going on” in the meeting with Baucus, Todd said in a phone interview from Montana. Eric Watnik, a U.S. embassy spokesman in Singapore, said today that a meeting between Kerry and Baucus was scheduled yesterday, without elaborating.

Todd’s son had worked at the Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore, a unit of Singapore’s state-run Agency for Science, Technology and Research. His death may be tied to one of the company’s projects, Todd said. The institute said this week it has cooperated fully with the police.

The Singapore police sought assistance from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in a probe into the death, asking the family to share any related evidence in their possession with the FBI if they are not comfortable with Singapore investigators, it said March 4.

Todd said the police have requested an external hard drive they took from his son’s apartment and a 2002 psychological report done in college, when he was “burning the candle at both ends.” The family have been in contact with the FBI and won’t hand over the two items until the U.S. investigators are allowed to join the probe in Singapore.

Limited Probe

“We’re not willing to participate in it because the Singapore police have limited the scope of their investigation,” Todd said. “We’re more than willing to hand anything over to the FBI if they request but it has to be with the full involvement of the FBI.”

Mary Todd, Rick Todd’s wife, said in an e-mail late yesterday that the hard drive was initially sent to the U.S. embassy. The family encouraged the embassy to share it with the police, with the condition that the FBI is invited to fully join the probe, she said, before taking back the drive.

Baucus said March 6 he is “nowhere close” to resolving his questions about the death of Todd’s son in Singapore.

The Singapore police declined further comment today beyond its March 4 statement. The U.S. embassy also said this week that the FBI will comply with the police’s request for its help in the U.S.

Todd’s son, who was 31 when he died, was last seen on the evening of June 22 and was found hanging in his apartment two days later, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Glenys Sim in Singapore at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Linus Chua at

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