GEORGE TOWN: The father of the late Dutch model, Ivana Smit, has asked if the police would extradite American couple Alex Johnson and Luna Almaz, who Ivana was last seen with, for questioning following a fresh murder probe by police.
Marcel Smit, 57, said he was thankful to the Malaysian judiciary and police for agreeing to reclassify the case as murder and hoped the new probe would throw some light on the mysterious consequences prior to Ivana’s death.
Police had recently decided to reclassify Ivana’s death from sudden death to murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code.
The High Court had ordered the case to be probed for murder, after taking into account Dutch pathologist Dr Frank van der Goot’s testimony that Johnson and Almaz might have engaged in a struggle prior to her death.
“I thank God that we are at a point we should have been two years ago,” the Dutchman said in a phone conversation with FMT from Belgium, where he currently resides.
Marcel hoped the investigation would be done “thoroughly and with integrity” and expected the Malaysian police to right the wrongs since Ivana’s death in 2017.
He said that included the extradition of Johnson and Almaz from the United States so that they could be questioned again. Ivana had fallen from the Johnsons’ apartment in KL after spending a night there.
Past news reports indicated that the American couple have since relocated to Florida.
“We know that Ivana died in the apartment; the Johnsons ought to be questioned,” he said.
Ivana’s grandfather, Hendrik Smit, was also equally pleased by the police announcement on the fresh probe and hoped justice would prevail.
In a statement, Smit’s family lawyer Sankara Nair said the fresh murder probe “alters the entire scenario” and he praised the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the police for acting swiftly.
“We as their lawyers have nothing but praise for the High Court for delivering swift justice to the grieving Smit family,” he said.
The Dutch lawyer holding a watching brief for the family, Sébas Diekstra, told FMT: ”Finally, justice seems to have been done.”
Last Friday, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur set aside the coroner’s ruling that Smit had died of “misadventure”, saying her death was caused by “persons known or unknown”.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah also directed the AGC to instruct the police to investigate the cause of her death.
Smit, 18, fell from the couple’s condominium unit in CapSquare Residences on Dec 7, 2017. Neither Johnson nor Almaz attended the subsequent inquest although they maintained their innocence in an interview with a British tabloid.
The police initially classified the case as sudden death, but it was reopened following the family’s claims of foul play.
Smit moved to Malaysia when she was three and lived in Penang for most of her life.