Dr. Shane Todd was found hanging in his apartment in Singapore on June 24, 2012. He had a PhD in electrical engineering and had been leading a special GaN (Gallium Nitride) development team with the Institute of Microelectronics (IME). GaN is a highly specialized new technology that has both civilian and military purposes.
In January 2012, IME sent Dr. Todd to New Jersey for training on this highly technical, one of a kind multimillion-dollar MOCVD (Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition) system IME had bought from Veeco, a U.S. company. This type of MOCVD system is prohibited from being exported into some countries, including China, according to U.S. export laws.
Upon returning to Singapore, Dr. Todd reported meeting with a Chinese company. He became increasingly uncomfortable and told his family he was being pressured to compromise U.S. security. He refused to do so. From late February Dr. Todd spoke with his family weekly, expressing fear for his life because of the work he was doing with this Chinese company. The company was identified as Huawei through documents found on Dr. Todd’s external hard drive after his death.
Immediately following Dr. Todd’s death, the family became suspicious of the evidence presented by the police and the state. Based on their own personal knowledge of Dr. Todd's personality, as well as correspondence over the last year, the family has serious doubts regarding the validity of much of the "official" evidence that is on record. In addition, an external hard drive that had been overlooked by police was found on the scene after the initial investigation that contained information that does not corroborate the official statements of police and state officials.
Below you will find the allegations of both the family (who believe it was murder) and the police (who believe this case was an obvious suicide) with a compilation of the evidence supporting the family’s view. Files listed under evidence can be accessed by clicking on the link or by going to "EVIDENCE"and then "DOWNLOADS".
Does the evidence support suicide or murder?
Family allegation: Shane died at the hands of someone else, putting up a fight and then was hung on the door to make it appear that he had committed suicide.
State allegation: Shane died of asphyxiation by hanging himself.
Suicide note: Two experts confirm that the suicide note found open on Shane’s computer by police was written by someone other than Shane. (Click to see Dr. David Camp report and Dr. Carole Chaski report) The style and tone of the writing is Asian and is detached and unemotional. The note thanks IME (Shane’s employer) while colleagues and family know he hated IME. The memories in the note are inconsistent with reality; some stated events that never occurred. All information contained in the note could have easily been picked up through casual conversation.
Photographs: There are discrepancies between photographs from the US mortuary and the Singapore coroner. Pictures of Shane’s body taken at the mortuary show Shane’s hands and fingers had bruising, there were lumps on his head, and there were markings of a thin strap and scratches around back of his neck. None of these abrasions appear on the coroner’s photographs, nor do moles on neck or hairs on hands. (Click to see photographs of body; hands; head; neck1; neck2)
Pathology reports: The Singapore pathologist stated in testimony that Shane’s body was only examined for evidence of suicide. Dr. Rao of the US, who confirmed the coroner’s report, based her decision in part on two handwritten suicide notes and photographic evidence. (Click to see report) There are no handwritten suicide notes.
Two pathologists engaged by the family, Dr. Adlestein of Missouri (Click to see report) and Dr. Porntip of Thailand, both point to evidence of foul play that was never considered by the state.
Suicide searches: Alleged searches on suicide on Shane’s computer were made on Saturday after the assumed time of death. Police compromised the computer by making their own searches. The web addresses of suicide sites were not provided by police or state lawyers, even when requested by the family at the inquest. No IP addresses of computer accessing website were ever confirmed by websites. The family’s forensic expert was never given access to the computer to verify that any said suicide searches occurred.
What happened at the scene?
Family allegation: Police mishandled scene of death and evidence. All police evidence has been compromised and cannot be trusted.
State allegation: As it was an obvious suicide, there was no reason for the police to secure the scene or follow normal protocol.
The police stated that the scene of death was never secured or investigated as anything other than suicide.
The family puts the time of death in the early morning hours between 8:00pm Friday when he was last seen by his neighbors and 3:00 am Saturday when someone accessed Huawei files saved on Shane’s external hard drive. The police say his death occurred late Saturday night. The state witness who said he had dinner with Shane on Saturday night later changed his testimony at the inquest.
The original police description read to his parents indicated Shane used bolts and pulleys to hang himself on the bathroom door; this was not consistent with the apartment scene. Police later changed their story and accused the family of lying. The strap around Shane’s neck was not part of his belongings and had two other types of DNA on it.
No measurements were taken to secure the apartment and the scene was changed by police before the forensics team arrived. Shane’s body was handled by police without gloves. No finger prints or DNA swabs were taken at scene to check for presence of third party.
IO Khaldun ordered by phone that Shane’s body be cut down from the door before the forensic team arrived. The reason given was to resuscitate even though the officer on the scene said it was evident Shane had been dead for some time (6 hours or more) and had been left hanging by police for over 30 minutes. The pictures taken by an officer on a cell phone of the body hanging on the door were ordered to be erased.
A forensic computer expert said that the police did not follow internationally practiced procedures to seize and preserve computer data (Computer data was compromised by police searches and the computer was not given to forensics for over a month.)
What was Shane’s emotional state?
Family allegation: Shane was anxious but not depressed. He had expressed fear for his life and was looking forward to coming home.
State allegation: Shane was depressed and committed suicide.
Psychiatrist: Shane visited Dr. Lee with anxiety and work related stress on April 4, 2012. Dr. Lee stated in his report of the visit that Shane had no suicidal ideations (Click to see DR‐1) Dr. Lee confirmed at the inquest that he told the parents that out of all his patients Shane was the least likely to commit suicide.
Family: Shane called them weekly from end of February 2012, continually expressing fear that his life was in danger and that he was being asked to compromise US security. He said that if he made it home it would be a miracle.
Girlfriend: Shane was not suicidal. He had told her “heavy hands are on me.”
Work colleagues: All close colleagues said Shane was not suicidal that he was a fun guy and was excited about going home.
Shane’s testimony: Shane had accepted new job, bought a plane ticket home, asked his family to wait until he got home to celebrate Father’s Day and his brother’s 21st birthday and was washing and packing his clothes when he was found dead.
Was Dr. Todd working on something that could have gotten him killed?
US national security: Dr. Todd was fearful that he had compromised US security by working on a joint GaN project between IME and Huawei.
IME/Huawei connection: The companies do not want their true relationship or what Dr. Todd was working on revealed.
Veeco machine/formula: Dr. Todd secured a special machine and formula for IME. Dr. Lo from IME lied at the inquest about the Veeco machine and formula and what Dr. Todd was asked to do.
GaN project: The GaN project Dr. Todd was working on with Huawei had potential military application.
US national security: IME does not engage in military research or applications.
IME/Huawei connection: There was minimal connection between IME and Huawei. There were only preliminary talks and no ongoing GaN project.
Veeco machine/formula: The Veeco machine Dr. Todd was working with was an ordinary machine available throughout Asia.
GaN project: Dr. Todd had no important leadership role in the GaN development project. The work was beyond his qualifications. The Veeco machine was not capable of military applications.
US security compromise: Dr. Todd expressed concern to his parents that he may have violated US security at the same time he expressed fear for his life. Dr. Todd's list of pro/cons about staying with IME states as a con the “possibility of violating US export law” (Click to see to HD‐14). After returning to Singapore following Veeco training, Dr. Todd told his family he was confused because the room that IME had built for the MOCVD tool had been replaced with a smaller room that would not work for the machine they had bought (family believes that was his first inclination that something was wrong).
IME/Huawei connection: IME story keeps changing; originally they denied any connection or collaboration with Huawei. An IME employee testified with recorded evidence that IME employees were threatened with legal action if they revealed any client information.
Dr. Todd's work with Huawei – Several documents were found on Dr. Todd’s external Seagate that demonstrate his on‐going work relationship with Huawei starting in August 2011 (Click to see HD‐2, HD-3, HD-6, HD-7, HD-11, HD-12, HD-15, HD-16, HD-17). There is an inexplicable direct plug‐in to external Seagate on 6/23 3:39 am (during the time Dr. Todd is assumed to have died) when Huawei work files were opened.
Veeco machine/formula: The Veeco sales representative who worked with Dr. Todd to purchase the machine testified at the inquest that it is a totally unique machine made expressly for IME; there was none other like it (model MOCVD). There was a copy of export license on external Seagate hard drive (Click to see HD‐1).
Special Veeco formula – The Veeco visit proposal on the external hard drive lists objective to copy formula by hand (Click to see HD‐8, HD-9). In personal email correspondence with Dr. Lo, Dr. Todd states he copied formula by hand (Click to see HD‐13). Dr. Lo denied this was true in his testimony. In a conversation with his brother Dylan, Dr. Todd stated that Veeco couldn’t give him a special recipe but he could take notes while the process was running. Dr. Todd expressed concern about that being a little shady.
GaN project: Documents demonstrating objectives for GaN power specifications were military grade of 150w compared to commercial of 60w (Click to see HD‐6, HD-10, HD-11).
Leadership role – Dr. Todd was named as a team leader (Click to see HD‐11). He purchased the Veeco machine and hired the GaN team (Click to see HD‐1, HD-4, HD-5). Colleagues on the team testified Dr. Todd was a great team leader.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
April 4, 2012
June 22, 2012
June 23, 2012
June 24, 2012
June 26, 2012
June 27, 2012
June 28, 2012
June 29, 2012
June 30, 2012
Begins work with IME
Export license for GaN machine from Veeco issued (HD-1)
Prepares sales invoice for Huawei (HD-7)
Visits family in US
Goes to Veeco facility in New Jersey for training on specially made MOCVD tool
Copies GaN formula by hand during training (HD-8, HD-13)
When returns from training expresses confusion that room for GaN project has been
changed and is too small for MOCVD machine (Parents believe this to be his first
inclination that something was wrong with the project.)
Says to parents he is being asked to compromise US security and violate export laws
Begins to express concern for life and whether he will ever make it home
Gives 60 day notice, offered a bonus by IME to stay longer to wrap up projects
Writes pass down list of job responsibilities including Huawei (HD-15)
Continues to express concern for life in weekly conversations with parents
Tells parents if he doesn't contact them weekly to get a hold of the US embassy
Visits psychiatrist with anxiety and work related stress (DR-1)
Buys plane ticket home for July 1
11:39 Forensic report shows back-up of files onto external Seagate hard drive initiated
Has good-bye lunch with colleagues
17:09 Back-up of files to external Seagate hard drive completed
17:16 Writes email to colleagues thanking them and telling them how to stay in touch
Is in process of washing and packing clothes
20:00 last seen by two neighbors when he takes them their mail
After returns to apartment has no further phone contact with anyone
3:29 am Forensic report shows Huawei folder accessed on external Seagate hard drive
18:40 Girlfriend goes to apartment and finds Shane dead, calls police
18:47 First responders arrive
19:20 Paramedics arrive, cut him down as ordered by Khaldun and pronounce him dead
23:50 Parents arrive in Singapore
Parents meet with embassy staff, staffer makes a call and then says police can be trusted
Parents go to police station with embassy staffer, police read detailed description of how
Shane hung himself, parents go to morgue to identify body
IO says he picks up 2nd computer from apartment in afternoon while partner waits in car
2038-2040 Forensic report shows someone accesses information on the external Seagate,
looking at GaN formula Power Point and attempting to erase file, IO later says he
accessed the Seagate at that time
Parents go to morgue and mortuary, spend day making arrangements
Mother and sons go to apartment to pack up things, father is taking care of other business
Mother calls police saying scene does not match their description, police come to
apartment and attempt to act out suicide possibilities, none of which make sense to family
Father arrives at apartment, mother finds little “speaker” and is told to pack it up, later
back at home the family discovers the “speaker” is really the external Seagate hard drive
Family hosts 20 of Dr. Todd’s friends all of whom express doubt of suicide