Indonesian police arrest familicidal, serial-killing shamans

The suspects behind the murder of at least nine people in Indonesia. Photo: Police handout
The suspects behind the murder of at least nine people in Indonesia. Photo: Police handout

On Jan. 12, five people were reportedly poisoned at a house in Bantargebang, Bekasi. That was only the start of one of the most shocking and bizarre criminal cases Indonesia has ever seen.

Police found that the victims drank coffee laced with pesticide. An investigation revealed that four of them were intended targets for murder, while one was an accomplice of the murderers.

Three of the five, Ai Maimunah (40), Ridwan Abdul Muiz (20) and M Riswandi (16) were killed, while a five-year-old girl identified as NAS survived along with the murderers’ accomplice, Muhammad Dede Solehudin (34).

Solehudin consumed what appeared to be a non-lethal amount of the poisoned drink in order to throw the police off of his heinous crimes with Wowon Erawan (60) and Duloh (63). 

The elderly duo, police said, worked in tandem and posed as shamans to scam people with supposedly supernatural get-rich schemes, promising them wealth in return for their initial investment.

When their clients confronted them, Wowon and Duloh — with the assistance of Solehudin — would resort to nefarious ways to get rid of the problem.

Ai had recently married Wowon (who has had six wives in total, one of whom was Ai’s mother, who, along with two others, were killed by Wowon and his accomplices) and took with her Ridwan and Riswandi, her sons from her previous marriage. NAS is Ai’s child from her marriage with Wowon.

Police suspect that Wowon, Duloh and Solehudin decided to kill Ai and her children after the victims had learned of their criminal activities.

In total, police believe the trio have killed at least nine people, comprising family members and former clients. The suspects buried most of their victims near their homes in Bekasi and Cianjur, West Java.

Police noted that one of the victims was a migrant worker named Siti who stored money with Wowon and pals after they promised her that they would multiply her wealth. Wowon ordered his mother-in-law from his first marriage, Noneng, to push Siti off a boat off the shore of Surabaya, East Java.

Noneng, along with her daughter and Wowon’s wife Wiwin, were later killed by Duloh.

Wowon, Duloh, and Solehudin have been charged with multiple counts of premeditated murder, which carries life imprisonment or the death penalty.

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