The Unsolved Murder Of Tan Lay Lan: Ex-Masseuse Found Dead In 2008 Feared For Safety

MS Unsolved: The Cold Case Of Tan Lay Lan

MS Unsolved is a series that hopes to raise awareness of cold cases in Singapore and generate new leads. If you have any information on the cases, reach out to MS News or the police.

Living alone could either be a fear or a dream for some of us.

Whether you like it or not, living on your own can be dangerous as there’ll be nobody around to help if you face any unforeseen accidents.

On 19 July 2008, the neighbours of 39-year-old Tan Lay Lan reported a strong stench coming from her one-room rental flat at 38 Chai Chee Avenue.

Source: Crime Library Singapore on Facebook

Her body was found half-naked and badly decomposed at around 1pm.

Police classified her case as a murder but the identity of the assailant is still unknown to this day.

Tan Lay Lan had fears of being murdered but was not taken seriously

Tan Lay Lan’s sister, Tan Lay Hwa, had received calls from her in the days leading up to the discovery of her body, reported The New Paper.

She had made pleas to her sister for help, claiming that someone was trying to kill her.

Madam Tan mentioned that her sister called her several times late at night and sounded frantic on the phone.

However, they were not able to talk for long as she was working at the time.

When asked for more details on why she felt that way, Tan Lay Lan did not divulge any information about her situation to her sister.

Source: Crime Library Singapore on Facebook

Madam Tan last heard from her sister on the night of 17 July.

Speaking to The New Paper, she noted that it was strange to receive the calls from her sister as they seldom kept in touch before.

She was shocked, however, to receive the news of Tan Lay Lan’s death at 10pm on 19 July and regrets not paying more attention to her sister’s cries for help.

Ex-masseuse lived a relatively quiet life

Tan Lay Lan was a masseuse before taking a break for three years due to her struggle with depression.

She then relied on her family for financial support, including the rent for the flat under her mother’s name.

“She was the youngest of 10 siblings, her life was not smooth sailing,” said her sister to reporters.

Source: Crime Library Singapore on Facebook

Furthermore, none of her neighbours knew much about her as she kept mostly to herself.

Madam Tan had also not visited her in person for more than a year before her unfortunate passing.

She shared that her sister changed boyfriends often, perhaps due to her lack of a sense of security and struggles with depression.

Theories behind the murder of Tan Lay Lan

The police reported that her body had no visible injuries. It was also unable to recover a murder weapon and there was an apparent lack of witnesses.

Tan Lay Lan’s neighbour, Hadibah Mansor, shared that most of the neighbours slept with the doors and windows closed.

Hence, they would not have heard any sounds of a struggle if there had been one that occurred in her flat.

However, The Straits Times reported that she was last seen alive on 17 July exiting a cab with an unknown man near her Chai Chee flat.

Another neighbour, masseuse Ng Cheng Hock, claimed that he woke up to some stomping noises at 2am, followed by a woman’s scream.

As such, there’s an unproven theory that her death could have been a crime of passion.

Tan Lay Lan had apparently asked her sister to look for her boyfriend during one of the late-night phone calls made days before her death.

She also brought up her relationship woes often during the phone calls with her sister.

Cases lost to the sands of time

Several unsolved cases have not only gone cold, but information regarding them is hard to come across online.

New information on old cases could just provide the closure that some desperately need.

For example, the cold case of Felicia Teo Wei Ling saw a breakthrough in 2021 when an arrest was made more than a decade after she was reported missing.

These stories bring the hope that it is possible to find new leads to bring peace to the victims and their families.

If you or anyone you know may have valuable information, reach out to MS News or the police to help bring closure to Tan Lay Lan’s case.

Also read: The Unsolved Murder At Amber Beacon Tower: A Couple Ambushed During A Date In 1990

The Unsolved Murder At Amber Beacon Tower: A Couple Ambushed During A Date In 1990

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Featured image adapted from Dollars And Sense and Crime Library Singapore. Background image for illustration purposes only.

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