Malaysians 'killed woman in lottery numbers sacrifice'

Malaysian police have charged three men with murdering an American woman in a ritual sacrifice to obtain lottery numbers from the spirits.

Malaysian police have charged three men with murdering an American woman in a ritual sacrifice to obtain lottery numbers from the spirits.

The body of Carolyn Janice Ahmad, originally from Duluth, Minnesota, was discovered in a shallow grave at an oil palm plantation last month. She had been missing for 19 months.

On Friday, three suspects were charged in a Magistrate's Court in Sungai Siput, 130 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, under murder statutes that carry a mandatory death penalty by hanging on conviction.

The suspects, Michael Anthonysamy, 34, Ramasamy Palaniappan, 36, and Christopher Earthiam, 28, did not enter pleas.

Police allege that the trio and a fourth man, Shanmugavala Shanmuga, who died in a car accident this year, killed Ahmad, 35, on November 9, 1999 in a ritual to try to obtain lottery numbers from the spirits.

Details of the killing are unclear, though a local newspaper reported that her head and feet had been cut off.

Some Malaysians have been known to hold ceremonies where they offer prayers and slaughter goats in hope of receiving insight on winning lottery numbers.

Magistrate Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaime has fixed August 28 for a hearing and ordered the three to be held at nearby Taiping Prison.

Anthonysamy is currently serving a six-year sentence for a firearms offence and Ramasamy is in custody awaiting trial for an unrelated murder charge.

Two other people, the wife and brother of the accident victim, were initially arrested but have been freed without charge. The brother had led police to Ahmad's grave.

Ahmad, whose maiden name was Carolyn Bushell, attended Duluth Central High School and the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she met Roslan Ahmad, a Malaysian who was also a student there.

They married in 1986, moved to Malaysia in 1987 and had three children.

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