The last person to see 30 year-old Mariyam Sheereen alive on Thursday night was an islander of Laamu Mundhoo who rents an apartment in the same house, one of Sheereen’s family members has claimed.
Sheereen was found dead on Sunday night under a pile of sand bags at a construction site in Male’.
Speaking to Minivan News on the condition of anonymity, the family member said Sheereen came to visit her mother at around 8pm on Thursday night.
“She said her SIM [card] wasn’t working, so I gave her a new one and asked her to return it on Friday,” said the relative. “Her mother told me she called her boyfriend before going out and argued with him.”
Sheereen left at around 9pm and that, the relative said, was the last time her family saw her.
Originally from Laamu Mundhoo, Sheereen moved to Laamu Gan with her mother and children, after the island was devastated in the tsunami.
Before her death, she had been living in a rented house in Male’ with one of her children.
The relative said she was seen with her boyfriend later that night by a family friend, while a friend of her mother’s saw the two of them in her rented room on New Year’s Eve.
Police said yesterday that Sheereen’s body was found by a Bangladeshi labourer on Sunday at Maafanu Angaagiri, under a pile of sandbags. The family was called to identify Sheereen two days after they filed a missing person’s report.
Police further revealed that a man had been taken into custody in connection with the suspected murder.
The relative said the Mundhoo man and Sheereen’s landlord knocked on her door on Friday morning as her slippers were outside, but there was no answer.
On Friday afternoon, her mother called her boyfriend and asked the landlord to open her apartment.
They found her handbag and the clothes she was wearing on Thursday night, and reported her as missing to the police.
According to the relative, police have since arrested Sheereen’s boyfriend, a man from Laamu atoll Kalhaidhoo.
The relationship was marred by a history of abuse, the relative continued, and Sheereen was once hospitalised in Laamu Gan regional hospital after he had severely beaten her.
Police would not confirm the identity of the man arrested.
Asked if the case was being treated as a murder investigation, Sergeant Ahmed Shiyam from the Maldives Police Service said “we cannot give any details yet of the case, but all we can say is that [the suspect] has been brought in because we suspect him of being linked.”
Mohamed Zuhair, the president’s press secretary, condemned the case as “horrific”.
“The president is very concerned about this alleged murder, and calls on the members of the public to assist the police in anyway they can,” Zuhair said.
The president’s office has been in close contact with the police commissioner, he added: “We have received information that the body was discovered 72 hours after death.”