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Australian Woman Murdered in Canggu Villa

Police Set One Month Deadline to Solve the Murder of Expatriate Working in Bali's Garment Industry.

(2/16/2008) A 34 year-old Australian woman Heidi Murphy was found dead in a rented villa in the Tibubeneng area of Canggu on Sunday, February 10, 2008. Murphy, who worked in the Island's garment sector for the past three years, was found dead with 37 stab wounds by household laborers who told police they climbed the wall of the dwelling when Murphy did not respond to repeated calls from the dwelling's gate, despite the victims motorcycle being parked within the compound.

Murphy's body was discovered sprawled on the floor of the dwellings living room covered with a bedspread. Upon seeing the body, the workers, who had come to collect their wages, raised the alarm with neighbors and police.

The officer-in-charge at the crime scene told the Bali Post: "There were 11 (sic) knife wounds on the body of the victim. The motive is unclear and the case remains under investigation."

Neighbors who lived near Murphy's home told the Bali Post that the murder occurred several weeks after knife-wielding robbers reportedly tried to rob her on a road near the scene of the fatal attack. According to the neighbor, Murphy managed to successfully flee what appeared to be a road-side robbery attempt.

The neighbor also told the press that Murphy, who lived alone, would typically host gatherings for friends every Saturday night. It is not clear, however, if a party was held at the villa on the eve of Murphy’s killing.

Bali police have interviewed friends and acquaintances of the dead Australian, including her estranged husband, Ben Sloane, an American national who also lives in Bali.

An investigative team comprised of police from North Kuta, Badung regency police and officers from Bali Police Headquarters have been joined by officers from the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

An Assistant Chief of the Bali Police has given his officers a deadline of one month to solve the violent murder.

Early indications point towards a crime of passion, a suspicion strengthen by the fact that a number of items of value were not missing from the crime scene.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that police are now trying to trace three phone calls made from Heidi Murphy’s hand phone just hours before the presumed time of her death. Those calls, made to unregistered pre-paid phone card numebrs, are now being sourced by police to their vendors in an attempt to trace the people called on the victim's phone.

The Sydney press also reports that prior to her death Murphy was working under contract to Paramount Pictures, preparing 200 costumes for a Star Trek sequel.

Police Help Line

The Bali Police have set up special telephone lines for those who might have information that would assist police in solving this crime. ++62-(0)361-7476574 or ++62-(0)816736356.