The family of Ruth Sitepu who went missing in 2016 with her husband, Pastor Joshua Hilmy, have pleaded for closure on the fifth anniversary of their disappearance today.
In a statement, they said they are still in the dark over her whereabouts despite efforts by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Indonesia’s Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) and its foreign affairs ministry.
“Ruth is a human being. She is our sister. She has family.
“Even if they met with tragedy, we just want closure. Please return her remains to us,” they said.
Sitepu and Hilmy, a Malay who converted to Christianity, were last seen leaving their home on Nov 30, 2016.
Suhakam began a public inquiry in February 2020 to determine if they were the victims of enforced disappearance.
An earlier session of the inquiry also looked into the disappearance of another pastor, Raymond Koh, who was abducted in broad daylight in 2017, and social activist Amri Che Mat who has been missing since 2016.
The Suhakam inquiry concluded in 2019 that Koh was the victim of enforced disappearance with the finger pointed at Bukit Aman’s Special Branch.
In their statement, Sitepu’s family said she was a caring and responsible person who had come to Malaysia to work and support them.
“It is unlike her to have disappeared intentionally. Even after getting married and moving to Malaysia, she regularly kept in touch with us (her family) via messages and calls,” they said.
“People do not and cannot just vanish into thin air, with no trace.”