BTV, Banjarnegara, Central Java – A recent investigation into a missing person case led the Central Java Police to a suspected serial killer and graves containing at least 10 bodies.
The suspect was identified as Tohari, nicknamed Mbah Slamet (Grandpa Slamet), who has allegedly killed his victims and buried their bodies near his home in Banjarnegara Regency, about 400 kilometers east of Jakarta.
Police and rescue workers came to the suspect's home on Monday and found several graves on a site of around 20 square meters nearby.
"We came to the crime scene today and pulled more bodies, but further information about the number of the victims and their identities will be presented by our superiors on a later date," Banjarnegara Police's criminal investigation unit head Adjunct Comr. Bintoro Thio Pratama said.
Volunteers who dug the site said that they discovered at least 10 bodies, some were just 1 meter deep. Witnesses said that in one of the graves, two bodies were found buried together.
The horrific scene came after police on Saturday discovered the grave of Tohari's latest victim, a 35-year-old man from Sukabumi, West Java, identified by initials PO.
Police began the investigation on March 27 when PO's son reported that his father has been missing for three days.
The last communication from PO was a WhatsApp message he sent to the family telling them that he was at Tohari's house and that if he didn't return within two days his children should come to the house accompanied by law authorities. He didn't return.
"The victim had shared his location with his son via the WhatsApp message," Banjarnegara Police Chief Hendri Yulianto told a press conference at his office.
The victim had met with his suspected killer before and was tricked into believing that Tohari could magically multiply money.
He was killed with poisoned coffee when he came to demand his money back, the officer said. PO's body was buried in a wood near the suspect's house.
Tohari, 45, who was presented at the press conference, didn't deny his crime. "I received a total of Rp 70 million and promised [the victim] I would multiply the money to Rp 5 billion," Tohari said.
He guided police to the site and even showed them specifically where he buried his previous victims. It's not immediately known when the killing spree began as the investigation is still in the early stage.
Police believed that Tohari killed his victims by mixing drinks with potassium cyanide and charged him with premeditated murder which carries the death sentence.
Police also arrested a suspected accomplice identified by his initials BS from Pekalongan, Central Java.
It's the second serial murder case using poisoned drinks the police have uncovered in just two months. In early February, police arrested three men accused of killing at least nine people in the West Java towns of Cianjur and Bekasi.