An affair and inheritance money were allegedly what drove the murder of 51-year-old Surono, whose body was found buried underneath the floor of the prayer room in his house in Juroju village, Jember, East Java on Sunday.
Yesterday, Jember Police named Surono’s wife, 45-year-old Busani, and son, 26-year-old Bahar, as suspects in his alleged murder.
According to Alfian, the murder took place in late March in their home. One evening, Bahar, who was working in Bali at the time, came home and was greeted by his mother — the two of them having allegedly already hatched a plan to kill Surono. At around 11pm, Bahar crept into Surono’s room, where the father was asleep, and killed him with a crowbar.
“The autopsy result showed that the victim was hit with a blunt object right on the left cheek. He died instantly after getting hit once,” Alfian said.
With Busani’s assistance, Bahar then dragged his father’s dead body towards the kitchen to bury him there. After three days, the ground where Surono was buried cracked open, so Busani laid cement on it to close it up. A few months later, the spot was transformed into a prayer room.
Bahar went back to Bali three days after committing the crime and took IDR6 million (US$428) from Surono’s safe. Busani went on to marry another man named Jumarin — who she was seeing while Surono was alive — two months later and continued to live in that house together. She told her new husband that Surono had gone to Lombok for two months at that time and had remarried there.
Surono was a coffee farmer with an annual income of IDR147 million (US$10,488), which is considered high among villagers in the area. Prior to the murder, Surono had long separated with Busani because he knew of her affair.
“So there were two motives: relationship problems and the desire to inherit [Surono’s] assets. The wife wanted the romantic relationship with another man to go well, while the son wanted to get his hands on his father’s wealth. They reached a meeting point for their own interests, then they conspired to kill the victim,” Alfian said.
But it didn’t entirely go to plan for Bahar, as he felt he didn’t get the inheritance he was entitled to. Because he was worried that Busani would tell Jumarin the truth, he made up a story that Surono was killed and buried in their home by Jumarin.
This story was told to Juroju village chief Edi, who alerted the local police, which led to Surono’s body being dug up some seven months after he was buried.
Busani and Bahar have been charged with premedidated murder. Under Indonesia’s criminal code, they may face the death penalty or life imprisonment.