DNA breakthrough in Malaysia mystery
DNA has matched human remains discovered on a Malaysian construction site to an Adelaide grandmother who disappeared more than two-and-a-half years ago, her family has revealed.
Annapuranee "Anna" Jenkins, 65, was visiting her sick elderly mother when she vanished in mysterious circumstances in suburban George Town, Penang Island, on December 13, 2017.
Royal Malaysian Police have now confirmed to Mrs Jenkins' son a DNA match from samples he provided to bones found partially buried just 500m from her last-known location.
The family is now preparing to bring home their mum's remains but are still desperate for police to thoroughly investigate the cause of her death.
Mrs Jenkins' son, whose job prevents him being identified, emotionally recalled how he collapsed and burst into tears upon learning the DNA results.
"We're all completely and utterly heartbroken. We all planned for this to happen but no one planned for it to come true," the son told the Sunday Mail as he fought back tears.
"Even though I've come over to do a DNA test to get a positive result I realised at that point I didn't want a positive result because I was still hoping mum would come strolling in.
"Our entire family has prepared for the past two-and-a-half years that mum is not coming back and now we get told you're never going to hug your mum and you're never going to see her again.
"It's just so hard. It's unbelievable. I thought there was no way our family could ever go through something like this."
He said the results had provided the first step towards closure.
"I'm not a Christian but mum and dad are Catholics so I wanted to go to the site to say a quick prayer for mum to absorb the gravity of the situation," the son said.
The forensic breakthrough came after Mrs Jenkins' family received photographic evidence of belongings and human bones found on the site of a $107m exclusive villa development.
A concerned local, who tracked down the family in June through missing persons posters, had made the discovery in March but came forward when police failed to act on the information.
Crucial circumstantial evidence included a blue top Mrs Jenkins was captured wearing by a security camera outside Hotel Jen, where she was staying, on the day she went missing.
A hotel keycard - later matched to Mrs Jenkins' room - dental appointment card and Australian and Malaysian currency were also found at the construction site.
Mrs Jenkins, of Glenelg South, caught an Uber after her dental appointment - the same surgery she had visited since 2012 - to Little Sisters of the Poor aged-care home.
But the driver told police Mrs Jenkins requested he stop at the intersection of Scotland Rd and York Rd, Scotland Gardens, about 4km from her original destination.
The driver said he pulled over 100m down the road at Ramakrishna Ashram orphanage, where Mrs Jenkins got out. It was her last known location.
Husband Frank Jenkins, 78, twice visited the aged-care home, where staff told him they had not seen his wife. He reported her disappearance to police.
They are now relying on police to conduct further searches of the construction site, near Kensington Gardens, for any further remains.
The son criticised the police approach to the search having found two vertebrae just moments after he finished praying for his mum.
"Even when they did the search they found some coins and it was up to me to tell the investigating officers that forensic officers were not wearing gloves," he said.
"They put a sole reliance on the detection dogs and after almost three years there's not going to be much of a pull scent so they still have not done a proper search of the area.
"I'm massively concerned they've put the construction and the amount of money that's been invested as a priority over mum's life."
The son said he planned to bring home his mum's remains when he returned later this week but would wait if necessary to ensure police conducted a proper investigation.
"We have to put our faith in the police doing the right thing but the past experiences definitely put in question the integrity and intent of the investigating officers," he said.
"You have to question whether Penang is a safe place for tourists knowing Australia can't help and you're reliant on a police force that so far has allowed the family to do everything.
"It highlights the importance of the family being over here to make them accountable. We need them to do an investigation not make an assumption."
Mrs Jenkins is survived by her husband Frank, daughter Jen, son and two grandchildren.
Originally published as DNA breakthrough in Malaysia mystery