Shane Todd Update: Parents are withdrawing from official inquiry into son's death, leaving Singapore

  • Shane Todd

    (CBS News) SINGAPORE-- The parents of Shane Todd, the American engineer found dead in his Singapore apartment on June 24, 2012, announced Wednesday that they are withdrawing from the official inquiry into their son's death and will leave Singapore immediately.

    "We no longer have confidence in the transparency and the fairness of the system," the Todds said in a statement released to CBS News. "It appears to us that the outcome has been pre-determined."

    It is a shocking turn of events given that the Todds had pushed hard for the Singapore government to conduct this inquiry. Now, they are leaving before either Rick or Mary Todd, Shane's parents, can testify at the hearing.

    Within days of learning their 31-year-old son was found hanging from his bathroom door last year, Shane's parents suspected he had been murdered. The Todds said that Shane had told them he feared for his life and his girlfriend Shirley Sarmiento testified that Shane had told her "heavy hands" were coming after him.

    According to his parents, Shane had told them he was working on cutting-edge technology between the company he worked for - the Institute of Microelectronics or IME - and Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which has been cited by the House Intelligence Committee as a national security threat that may have violated U.S. laws. Shane, according to his parents, faced pressure from his employer to cooperate with Huawei and felt he may have betrayed his country.

    The Todds have suspected that Shane was murdered because of the highly sensitive nature of his work. Just this week at the inquiry, an executive with IME admitted that his company had done work with Huawei and that he had not wanted that project to become public. 

    The Todds announcement comes one day after they walked out of court after the judge initially would not give them enough time to prepare for an 11th hour witness. The judge later relented but the Todds say they lost faith in the process. Over the past week or so, the Singapore authorities have presented what it says is evidence that Shane was depressed and had killed himself. The Todds rejected that evidence and insisted he was murdered.

    "We were looking forward to an honest and transparent court proceeding," they said in their statement. "Sadly, this has not been the case."

    Within an hour of that announcement, the Todds' lawyers also withdrew from the proceedings. The Todds were expected to be on a flight back to the United States sometime Thursday.

    Complete coverage of the Shane Todd case on CBS News

  • Paul LaRosa

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