PETALING JAYA, July 10 — Fashion models and industry players are questioning the circumstances leading to the death of top freelance model Regina Soosalu on July 1.
This comes about after police had yesterday classified the case as murder after injuries were found on the Estonian’s body.
Talks behind the runway curtain and at studios revealed Soosalu was “going out” with a member of a royal family for the past three years and that he owns a resort on Rawa Island, located off Mersing.
Described as “strong and independent” and having plastered her face on the covers of international magazines, fellow models claim they only learned of her death five days later through her partner’s status on Facebook.
The partner had, in his posting on July 6, said: “I am deeply saddened and totally heartbroken to confirm the worst tragedy of my life. Regina my love has passed away on July 1, in the holy month of Ramadan.
“She is my love, my best friend and will continue to be my inspiration for the rest of my life. Her heart was filled with greatness, love and compassion for all beings and life itself. Whichever faith or freed you may be, know that her energy/soul/spirit continues in this cruel world.
“Words can not express the emptiness and heartache I feel. Farewell for now, never goodbye. Till we meet again I love you My baby, you’ll always be in my heart X”.
A close friend in the industry, who declined to be named, said: “She was considered as one of the top models in our industry and made a name for herself through sheer hard work. Soosalu was the best among us.”
“News of her death came as a shock to us. We can’t seem to understand why her death was only made public on July 6, five days after she had died.”
Another model, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Soosalu spent most of her time on the island with her partner and his friends.
“We believe the partner could shed more light as to what actually transpired and we hope the police will get to the bottom of this. She was a star in the scene and her death is a loss to the industry.”
Soosalu was earlier believed to have died from drowning.
Six arrested following model’s death
Johor CID chief SAC Datuk Hashnan Hassan revealed Soosalu died on the same day she arrived on the island.
He said six people had been detained to assist investigations but police could not reveal the exact time of the incident and how the murder took place.
“We need more time but we can assure you that investigations are under way,” he said.
Hashnan said the partner was not among the six picked up.
The woman’s stepfather and mother are expected to arrive in Johor Baru today to claim her body at Sultanah Aminah Hospital.
“We relayed the message to her family via the Estonian embassy in Beijing,” Hashnan said.
He declined to divulge further information on the case.
On May 9, 2012, four Singapore-based expatriates alleged they were attacked by bodyguards of a Malaysian royal family while holidaying on Rawa Island.
In 2005, it was reported that a group of six men, including a Johor prince, gatecrashed a Brazilian couple’s wedding on the island and attacked guests with golf clubs and sharp objects.
Police detained four men, including the Johor royalty, then in his 20s, but freed them on bail several days later.
Rawa, a privately-owned island, is located 16km off the east coast of the peninsula and is an hour’s boat ride from Mersing. It is home to two resorts — Le Club and The Safari.