Flathead County Coverage

Mar 14, 2013 9:09 AM by Laura Wilson - KAJ News

Flathead family wants answers in son's Singapore death

KALISPELL - Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus is questioning the circumstances surrounding the death of a man who was found dead inside his Singapore home last year.

Authorities ruled Shane Todd committed suicide, but his family, who live in the Flathead Valley, are saying otherwise.

When Mary and Rick Todd learned of their son's alleged suicide last June, the couple was in disbelief that they had lost their first-born son, and disbelief that he was the one responsible for ending his life.

"I was in such a state of shock, I didn't even have time to think about it - but by that day, it dawned on me: He's been murdered," Mary said.

Shane Todd, 32, had moved to Singapore in 2010 to work for the Institute of Microelectronics. He was in charge of purchasing a machine that would develop an advanced semiconductor - which is able to endure high levels of heat.

"Basically what it makes is a material called GaN - Galium Nitride," Rick explained. There's a lot of civilian applications for it, and that's where he thought he was going with it."

Shane told his parents that eventually, his company asked him to supply the GaN technology for military use, which he believed would compromise American security.

"It was the illegal transfer of technology, and he would not do it," Mary recalled. "They threatened his life, and he still would not do it. He quit his job."

Shane remained in Singapore while he finished out his 60-day notice. He had a loving family, and a new job waiting for him back in the U.S., but it was a trip home he'd never get to take.

Back in June of 2012, shortly before his planned departure from Singapore, he was discovered hanging from his bathroom door. His parents say their son knew too much about his company's illegal transgressions.

"He knew all the players, and he knew what company was asking for this technology," Rick told us.

A pathologist's report revealed several defensive wounds on the engineer, and the Todds say the physical evidence alone in this case suggests foul play.

"I had a complete set of pictures taken of his body showing the neck wounds, the wounds on his head where he head butted [someone], his hands were badly bruised as if he were in a fight, and there's actually marks where he had gripped the wire around his neck to try and remove it," Rick recalled.

"It's just one thing after another after another. And the police--we couldn't rely on anything that they said," he added.

Shane's parents say his alleged suicide note was full of inaccuracies, and mentioned family related events that had never occurred.

"The first paragraph was my first sense of joy since hearing my son was dead because I knew he didn't write that note," Mary said.

There was also Shane's hard drive, which had been accessed twice after his death. The Todds say a forensic specialist discovered information on it, linking Shane's former employer, IME, and a Chinese company called Huwaei to a carbon copy of the GaN technology.

But despite this evidence, the death is still being ruled a suicide - although Shane's family says they will continue to fight for the truth.

"They didn't know who they were dealing with. We are not a family that would just come and pick our son up and take him home and bury him," Mary observed.

The Todds aren't the only ones fighting for answers. Senator Max Baucus met with the Singapore's foreign minister this week and asked about the investigation and its evidence.

"Every once in a while, something comes along where you decide this is above and beyond everything else you do, and you're going to do whatever it takes to get this thing solved, and this is one of those things," Baucus said.

"I see grief, I see resolve, I see sadness, I see love - and that inspires me to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of this," he added.

"Our son died and American hero because he would not go against our country. We can't bring our son back. But our country needs to wake up and see what's happening," Mary concluded.

Sen. Baucus says he is still looking into the degree in which there may have been a breach of national security.

IME officials aren't commenting, except to say they are cooperating fully with the investigation.

Anyone interested in learning more about Shane Todd, or watching his funeral service, can click here.

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