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The dismemberment murder of Mayang Prasetyo: The extreme lengths Marcus Volke took to conceal his sordid double life

15 May 2017 4:39 AM
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The dismemberment murder of Mayang Prasetyo: The extreme lengths Marcus Volke took to conceal his sordid double life

Marcus Volke's chilling phone call to electrician0:42

Mayang Prasetyo’s death will be examined by Queensland coroner Terry Ryan, along with that of her husband Marcus Volke.

But no-one could ever have imagined the true horror that lay behind that apartment door.

Marcus Volke was a chef by trade — a chef with a particular interest in bone broth.

But the final broth the 27-year-old would make came not from any quest for healthy living.

To conceal a murder and to conceal the sordid double life his family knew nothing about.

The two officers called to Volke’s apartment, ostensibly for a welfare check, thought they had stumbled upon a sick joke.

In the pot he had been using to cook his partner Mayang Prasetyo’s body parts, they found what appeared to be human feet.

Other parts of Ms Prasetyo’s dismembered remains were found in a garbage bag near the washing machine.

The opening day of the inquest into Ms Prasetyo’s and Volke’s deaths heard on Monday that Senior Constable Bryan Reid and Constable Luke McWhinney initially were called to conduct a routine welfare check late on Saturday, October 4, 2014.

“(There) was a bad smell, it was something I hadn’t smelt before and can’t really describe,” Sen Constable Reid said at the inquest in Brisbane on Monday.

An electrician had earlier visited to restore power in Volke’s apartment, which he had short-circuited when the pot on his stove boiled over.

The building managers called police, concerned about that odd smell and that the woman who lived there with him had not been seen for a couple of days.

Sen Constable Reid said Volke was initially co-operative when they questioned him outside his apartment.

But when he went back inside, telling the officers he needed to secure the pair’s dogs, Volke locked the door, self-harmed and jumped his balcony fence to escape to a rear laneway.

There was a pool of blood on the floor beside the pot that contained Ms Prasetyo’s feet.

The Double One 3 apartment complex in the up-market, riverside enclave of Teneriffe was so new in early October 2014, a giant banner still hung on the side of the building advertising units for rent.

Ad hoc pieces of A4 paper taped to walls directed residents to their new homes, which investors had paid upwards of $600,000 for.

Volke, who was raised in the small country Victorian farming community of Haddon, just outside Ballarat, was among the first to move in.

He and his young Indonesian wife Mayang Prasetyo had lived in a ground floor apartment with their three small pugs for just a couple of months.

During their brief tenure in the building, Ms Prasetyo was frequently seen walking the dogs along the riverside paths and in parks nearby.

On the surface, they were a young couple who had recently returned to Brisbane after working on cruise ships, he as a chef, she as a cabaret dancer.

Volke left his regional Victorian home for Melbourne to further his trade after high school but he soon discovered a far more lucrative profession.

At Pleasure Dome brothel, which promotes itself as having Australia’s “finest selection of male escorts and transsexuals”, he was introduced to fellow sex worker Ms Prasetyo.

Born Febri Andriansyah in Indonesia, she had started transitioning to a woman before moving to Australia and working as a high class transgender escort, eventually charging her clients $500 per hour.

She sent the funds back to her impoverished mother and two younger sisters at home, paying for the girls to go to school.

The couple moved into private escort services after leaving the Melbourne brothel and travelled the world plying their trade.

They settled for a while in Denmark, where, under the name Heath XL, Volke advertised himself as a “young sexy Australian boy, very friendly and easy going, discreet and professional.”

“I’m open to all kinds of people, ages and backgrounds but if you are cool, serious and generous, then we can be a match!”

In 2013, the couple married in Copenhagen, after Volke asked his prospective mother-in-law for permission to marry her daughter on a return trip the couple made to Indonesia.

While Ms Prasetyo’s family knew of her marriage, Volke’s family back near Ballarat were completely in the dark.

As far as they knew, the son who infrequently called home and occasionally visited — alone — was travelling the world while cooking on cruise ships.

They knew nothing of Ms Prasetyo’s existence, or of their son’s double life.

In addition to coming to terms with the grief of suddenly losing their son, his parents also had to absorb the confronting details of his sordid life being so publicly exposed.

When reporters came knocking at the family property in the days following the deaths, Volke’s clearly distressed father Peter, a karate instructor, chased them away.

The 27-year-old was farewelled in a small, private funeral service in North Ballarat.

Media interest was high but they were told, in no uncertain terms, they were not welcome.

Volke and his new wife returned to Australia nearly a year after their August 2013 marriage in Copenhagen.

Like many affluent young professionals, they chose to live in Teneriffe.

Teneriffe boasts plentiful cafes, bars and boutiques, among the rustic, riverside red brick buildings that once operated as wool stores, now converted to sought after apartments.

Friends and family hinted that, despite their recent marriage, their relationship was a volatile one.

Neighbours heard Volke and his wife fighting inside their apartment late on Thursday, October 2.

In the days following the discovery of her remains, Detective Senior Sergeant Tom Armitt said investigators did not believe the murder was a premeditated one, but the tragic outcome of a heated domestic dispute.

But while Volke may not have intended to kill Ms Prasetyo, he went to extreme lengths to cover up her murder.

It was not just the inevitable charges and loss of his liberty that was looming.

The discovery of her death would also expose the life he had so carefully hidden for so many years.

Stuck with his wife’s body in a heavily populated area, Volke got to work with the disposing of it.

He took out a large pot and one of his chef’s knives and cut her into pieces.

But by Saturday, there was that distinctive stench pervading the air of the Double One 3 complex.

It was similar to rotting meat, some residents later told police. Like dog food, others reported.

The smell itself may not have ever been enough for residents to call police and Volke may well have gotten away with murder.

But on the Saturday, two days after Ms Prasetyo’s death, fate intervened.

The pot Volke was using to cook parts of his wife’s body boiled over and into the electric oven.

To carry out his plan, Volke had no choice but to phone an electrician.

He was cooking pig’s broth, he explained to the electrician, who already suspected otherwise.

There were bottles of chemicals and rubber gloves, the smell of bleach mingling with that odd, foul stench.

On the way out, he talked to the building manager and police were called.

Sen Constable Reid and Constable McWhinney responded to the building manager’s request for the welfare check.

The scene that confronted the officers in that near-new unit was particularly gruesome.

He slashed his own throat inside the apartment before jumping his balcony fence, which faced a laneway behind the building, leaving it smeared with blood.

He continued to leave a blood trail as he ran and hid in an industrial bin a nearby laneway.

With a suspected murderer on the loose, police quickly mobilised and soon an estimated 15 officers swarmed to Dath Street.

For years, Volke had successfully concealed his marriage and life as a male sex worker.

As he hid from police in the wheelie bin it was all on the brink of exposure.

It was inside the bin that he died, the blood leaving streaming from his throat wound so quickly, subsequent CPR attempts by police and paramedics were utterly hopeless.

The investigation into Volke and Ms Prasetyo’s death was a lengthy and painstaking one.

The Queensland Ethical Standards Command, the body reserved for internal police investigations, led the probe, as Volke was on the run from two officers when he took his life.

This week, Coroner Terry Ryan will hear submissions to make the final ruling on one of Brisbane’s most gruesome cases of murder-suicide.

The death of Febri Andriansyah, as the pre-operative transgender woman was still legally known, is expected to be a largely open and shut ruling.

The police response will be under the microscope, with the question Mr Ryan will make the ruling on being, did the officers who were called to the scene that night contribute, in any way, to the 27-year-old’s death?

As well as Sen Constable Reid and Constable McWhinney, three other officers — Detective Sergeant Tom Jakes, the dog squad’s Senior Constable Robert Richardson and district duty officer, Senior Sergeant Sean McKay — are set to give evidence.


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