Manhunt Underway for Killer of Australian Woman

Police Issue One-Month Deadline to Track down Murderer

By William J. Furney
Managing Editor
The Bali Times

CANGGU, Bali ~ Australian Federal Police joined forces with Bali Police in a manhunt across the island this week after Bali was left reeling following the revelation that a young Australian woman was brutally murdered at her villa in pastoral Canggu at the weekend.

Heidi Murphy, 34, from Sydney but born in the northwestern city of Dubbo, was found with multiple stab wounds to her body earlier on Sunday afternoon, her father said. She is believed to have died the previous night.

A distraught Gary Murphy hit out at the news media over what he said was a string of inaccurate reporting that included allegations that the grisly crime was a result of unpaid wages of workers at a clothing factory the victim ran.

There were also suggestions of a possible love entanglement, that the deceased was found naked and in a pool of blood and that she put up a desperate fight for her life after letting her attacker into the villa.

“These things are simply not true,” her father said, as his daughter’s body lay awaiting a post-mortem examination at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar.

“Initial reports said Heidi was stabbed 16 times. We later learned she was stabbed 18 times, in the back and once in the neck,” he said.

On Wednesday, Badung Police raised the number of times Murphy was stabbed to 37.

Police said they had spoken to the victim’s estranged husband, a 29-year-old American living in Bali, police said. The pair were in the process of getting a divorce.

Badung Police chief Ahmad Subarkah said there were 16 wounds to the body but that the victim had been stabbed a total of 37 times. He said it appeared Murphy knew her killer because there was no evidence of forced entry at the villa.

As Bali Police chief Paulus Purwoko gave a one-month deadline to find the killer, deputy director of crimes Erwin Chahara said Australian police would be helping with the investigation.

“The participation of the AFP will be to help the joint team (of Bali police units) in investigating this case. They will take part in investigation efforts and assist in the interrogation of witnesses,” he said.

So far more than a dozen people have been questioned in connection with the crime, police said.

As part of the probe, police said they had printed out numbers dialed and received by the cellphone number used by the victim.

Reporters at the scene of the murder on Monday morning discovered a book of romantic poetry purportedly written by Murphy, possibly a clue that the slaying could be related to a love interest.

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