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Singapore gov't destroyed evidence in US engineer's death

NEW YORK -- Two pieces of evidence central to the death of 31-year-old American engineer Shane Todd -- whose body was found in his Singapore apartment in June, 2012 -- have been destroyed by police on the island nation, according to an official letter sent to the Todd family lawyer earlier this month.

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Shane's parents, Rick and Mary Todd of Montana, have been asking for months that the Singapore government return the hand-made noose and towel that were found around Shane's neck when his body was discovered hanging on the bathroom door of his apartment. The noose was fashioned from a strap commonly found on a computer bag.

Both the noose and the towel contained the DNA of two unknown persons, according to reports done by Singapore authorities. No further testing was done by authorities to determine whose DNA it was.

"Rick and I wanted the towel and the strap returned to us in order to do what the SPF [Singapore Police Force] should have done in the first place -- to test the...DNA (on the items)," Mary Todd told CBS News. "We have ample evidence that our son was murdered, but the towel and the strap were the only DNA evidence in Shane's case, and now they have been destroyed forever."

Mary Todd also pointed out that the items belonged to Shane.

The Singapore Attorney General countered in a report that it is "normal protocol" for items used in hanging cases to be "forfeited to the state for disposal."

The Todds had retained a Singapore lawyer and the issue of what would happen to the noose and towel had become the subject of emails, official letters and hearings in recent months.

The Singapore government also wanted the family to explain why they wanted the items returned but their Singaporean lawyer refused the request. "In law, there is no reason to explain why you want your property back," he wrote to the family. "It's like justifying to a robber why you want your belongings returned. Sheer chutzpah. It's the family's by right."

In July 2013, the state coroner in Singapore concluded that Shane's death was caused by "asphyxia due to hanging" and ruled no foul play was involved. The Todd family has never accepted the official findings and, to this day, believes their son was murdered and that the crime scene was staged to make it appear he had taken his own life.

The Todds insist Shane was murdered after he was asked to compromise U.S. security by revealing secrets to a Chinese company. That company -- Huawei Technologies -- has been declared a threat to U.S. national security by the House Intelligence Committee. At the time, Huawei was discussing a joint project with Shane's Singapore employer, the Institute of Microelectronics.

However, both companies deny their joint business discussions involved any classified military information and pointed out that the project was abandoned soon after Shane's death.