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No foul play? Singapore inquest rules that Shane Todd killed himself

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E
Mary and Rick Todd walk out of their son’s inquest in Singapore.
By Jake Maxwell Watts
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

A Singaporean court ruled on Monday that a 31-year-old American engineer who was found dead at his home in the city last year committed suicide, with no foul play involved despite claims by his parents that he may have been murdered due to his work on advanced semiconductor research with potential military applications.

Mary and Rick Todd walked out of the inquest early on, telling the Associated Press that “it was apparent that the [Singaporean] state was only interested in proving suicide.” Singapore district judge and coroner Chay Yuen Fatt said there was no substantial evidence that Shane Todd was murdered, citing evidence from several expert witnesses and pointing to Todd’s history of depression. The decision cannot be appealed.

The case received intense scrutiny in the United States due to speculation that the government-owned Institute of Microelectronics, where Todd worked, was negotiating a project to develop gallium nitride technology with Huawei, a firm with close ties to the Chinese military. During the trial, the Singapore institute testified that it had discussed collaboration with Huawei beginning in July 2011 and ending in July 2012—a month after Todd’s death.

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