True Crime and Black Magic: The Murder, Mutilation and Cannibalism of Six Young Indonesian Boys and a Mentally Disabled Man
Riau, Indonesia [2013 — 2014]
The Unveiling of a Crime
The ditches located at Pinang Sebatang Timur Village in the Tualang District of Siak, Riau, Indonesia, are a popular fishing spot for the residents. They are especially attractive to young boys who don’t mind getting their hands dirty to get the catch of the day.
On the 18th of July 2014, at approximately noon, three friends were fishing side-by-side at one of these ditches when they were approached by two men. The boys’ interests were piqued when the men offered to give them a ride to Sungai Naga (Translation: Dragon River) where fishes were plentiful.
Only two of them made it back home alive. The last child — Femasili Madeva who was only 10 years old — was eventually found deceased, with most of his flesh stripped from his corpse.
But Femasili was not laid to rest in vain. A witness had seen the perpetrators lead the boy into the Acacia forest where he was executed. Thanks to the information given by the witness and other residents, four suspects were arrested.
After a series of rigorous questioning, the suspects broke down and admitted to their crimes. But Femasili was not the first life they took. Nor was he the youngest. He was the last of seven, and the ages of the perpetrators’ victims ranged from 5 to 40 years old.
It was a stretched-out killing spree enacted by four collaborators. While the first victim was abducted on the 10th of January 2013, the mastermind’s plans began nearly a decade prior.
A Dying Father’s Tale of Black Magic & Its Influence
Also known as ‘Hitam Ilmu’ in Bahasa Indonesia, the belief in Black Magic isn’t considered uncommon or foolish. It’s very much feared by both the religious and irreligious, the old and the young, and its customs can date back to the pre-Islamic age of Indonesia. Even in politics, Black Magic has its influences, with former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stating that he and his family nearly fell prey to witchcraft.
Regardless of the grip that superstition has over the nation, it’s fair to state that only a relatively small pool of persons actually practice Black Magic. An even smaller pool will go to drastic and sinful lengths to carry out its traditions.
Muhammad Delfi bin Basri Tanjung, whose life revolved around Black Magic, unfortunately fell into that minuscule group.
It was his father, Basri Tanjung, that sparked Delfi’s interest, having founded a ‘college’ that took in two other students to teach and pass down such practices and traditions. Basri adopted two occupations: A satay seller and a shaman. He was famous in the Duri province for being able to treat illnesses and to retrieve stolen objects.
Through this exposure, he became invested in learning more about Black Magic. One of the spells stuck with him. It could bring the caster recognition as a shaman, powers of invulnerability and invisibility, and irresistibility in bed. The only way a human can achieve such talents was to drink fresh blood from the dismembered genitals of at least nine potent boys.
Then in 2013, he married his middle-school sweetheart: Dita Desmala Sari binti Suheri. They were both 19. That year acted as a catalyst for Delfi’s aspirations to complete the ritual that was told to him by his father. Possibly due to his drive to earn more money and receive a high social status in the community, he decided to embark on the necessary killing spree to complete the ritual.
Below are the details of each murder. Unfortunately, some may have less information than the others, due to holes in the suspects’ testimonies and lack of victims’ body parts for proper autopsies. More evidence may very well be found in the future, of which I will add to this in future updates.
The First Victim: 5 y/o Febrian Dela [10th January 2013]
Delfi’s first murder was done alone. On the 10th of January 2013, a month before his marriage to Dita, he travelled to the Kampung Baru area of Rengau Village of the Rantau Kopar District, Rokan Hilir Regency. There, he found 5 y/o Febrian Dela and lured him away from safety.
He admitted to killing the boy before cutting off the victim’s genitals. While the police has found the victim’s sandals, underwear and a jacket, his body has yet to be discovered.
The Second Victim: 40y/o Aci [July 2013]
40 y/o Aci of the Bengkalis Regency, was the first of the victims killed by Delfi while being assisted by his then-wife, Dita. Initially mistaken as the remains of a woman, his skeleton was only found a year later in August 2014, even though he was killed around July 2013.
The identity of this victim has not been confirmed as none of his family members have come forward to claim him. Even the name ‘Aci’ is a placeholder. What is known of him, however, is that he had an intellectual disability and that he was Delfi’s only adult victim.
The Third Victim: 9 y/o Muhammad Hamdi [2nd August 2013]
On the 2nd of August 2013, Hamdi was reported missing. His skeleton was later found around Jalan Stadium Duri of the Mandau District, Bengkalis.
This was the second murder committed by Delfi, with assistance from Dita. He admitted to the police that he lured Hamdi away with the false pretense of wishing to go swimming and fishing. He and Dita then killed the boy and mutilated his genitals.
Thereafter, it would take months before Hamdi’s bones were returned to his parents, who chose not to turn up during the murderers’ trial as they were too upset at the lack of urgency from the police. As spoken by his father, Sutrisno:
“I’m not being prideful now. I only want our son’s bones, so that my wife won’t be restless and worry over our son’s whereabouts.”
There’s little information online if Hamdi’s bones have been properly returned to his family. To justify the delay in responding to his family’s pleas for his remains, the police explained that they were unable to recover his full skeleton on site.
The Fourth Victim: 9 y/o Rendy Hidayat [14th August 2013]
It was 5.30 in the evening when 9 y/o Rendy Hidayat got onto Delfi’s Honda Revo motorcycle and was taken back to the latter’s house. Dita, who Delfi was still married to at that time, was surprised to see Rendy and asked her husband who he was. He told her that the boy was the son of his friend and that he had invited him over to play.
Even though she initially refused out of weariness, Dita relented to accompanying Delfi and Rendy to the nearby store. They rode on a different motorcycle to the store and on the journey there, she was asked by her husband if she would like to practice killing. She again refused, but was cajoled to follow his lead.
At the store located at Jalan Inpres, Delfi bought a white box cutter and multiple bottles of mineral water. The three then headed over to the nearby public cemetery, under the excuse that he wanted to pay his respects to his deceased parents. Once he was done, he began leading them towards the shrubs, saying that he wanted to hide behind the greenery to do his business. Dita rebuked this request, yet relented soon enough.
When they reached the shrubs and were out of sight of any other potential witnesses, Delfi told Rendy to stand among the weeds. He then ordered Dita to take off the boy’s pants. When she refused twice, he took on the task himself. He then asked his wife to fondle the boy’s genitals, to which she agreed to.
Later in court, they would attempt to justify this molestation by saying that they only did so because they wanted to check if he was potent, not out of sexual gratification. Such an action was done in recurrence to all of Delfi’s victims.
As the final step of the ritual was to dismember the boy’s genitals, Rendy was forced onto the ground and strangled to death with his own underwear by Dita. Under Delfi’s orders, she went on to slice off the boy’s genitals using the box cutter that they earlier bought. Rendy was then buried under a mount of grass and weeds while the box cutter was discarded into the bushes. Finally, the couple left for home, carrying along the victim’s genitals with them.
They visited the murder site less than a month later, to check up on the body. All that was left were his bones. The police would only stumble across his skeleton a year after, on the 7th of August 2014.
The Fifth Victim: 9 y/o Muhammad Akbar [16th March 2014]
Similar to Muhammad Hamdi’s case, Muhammad Akbar was persuaded to follow Delfi when promised a fun day of swimming and fishing. Delfi had divorced Dita by this point of time, so he carried out this crime alone.
Although Akbar was killed on the 16th of March 2014, his skeleton was also only found months later, on the 7th of August 2014, together with his pants and life vest.
The Sixth Victim: 8 y/o Marjevan Gea [30th June 2014]
The day before the murder of 8 y/o Marjevan Gea, Delfi was hanging out with his friend: 26 y/o Syopian bin Herman Ade (Pian). They were loitering in front of the house of fourth perpetrator, 16 y/o Dicky Pranata bin Amran, who would later be involved in the murder of the seventh victim.
Delfi was the first to strike up conversation on the topic.
“Pian, do you want to join me in finding children’s genitals? If you want to, there’s someone who’s willing to pay Rp. 500.000 (34.50 USD) for it.”
“Why the genitals of children?”
“Because that’s what the old men want.”
It didn’t take much persuasion to get Pian, who was interested in earning money, on board. They decided to meet up the next day at the nearby excavation site where many children enjoyed bathing at.
On the 30th of June 2014, in the afternoon, they arrived at the excavation site where they spotted four children. Out of these four, they chose Marjevan Gea based on the measurement of his genitals. The victim was lured away from his friends when the two men offered to buy him Indonesian crackers.
They drove him to the store, using the same Honda Revo motorcycle that Delfi rode while kidnapping Rendy Hidayat. There, Pian bought a single box cutter, before the trio went on to travel towards the Eucalyptus forest that had a security post close by.
They parked the motorcycle within the forest and led the child to stand in front of one of the trees. Similarly to the previous victims, he was molested by Delfi to check for potency.
Once satisfied by the result, Delfi gave his jacket to Pian. He ordered the latter to strangle the child. Marjevan was dragged to the ground and asphyxiated, before having his genitals cut off by Pian using the box cutter.
The dismembered genitals was kept in a plastic bag and the weapon was thrown deep into the forest. The child’s corpse was left underneath a pile of dried leaves.
Shortly after, the two men travelled to the house of their acquaintance and gave him the plastic bag containing the genitals. Delfi told the acquaintance that the meat was mutton and to hand it over to their boss as medicine.
Marjevan’s remains in the forest were discovered in the weeks that followed up, and an autopsy was done on the 23rd of July 2014.
The Seventh Victim: 10 y/o Femasili Madeva [18 July 2014]
It was 12 in the afternoon when Pian and Delfi were riding their Honda Revo motorcycle around the Bunut district. By chance, they spotted three boys fishing at the ditches in the Bunut market. Their names were the victim Femasili Madeva, and his two friends: Daud and Mawar.
At this sighting, Delfi remembered his father’s words and decided that it was finally the day to complete the ritual. With these three boys, he would accomplished the target of nine victims in total. He turned to Pian and asked him if he was up for the task, to which Pian agreed to as he needed more money. They intended to sell the three boys’ genitals to the different eateries by labelling the flesh as beef.
Pian and Delfi approached the children and, as previously mentioned, enticed them to change their fishing spot to Sungai Naga. But out of these three boys, only two could fit onto the motorcycle. Femasili and Mawar were chosen. Daud was left behind, with the promise that he would be fetched once the rest were dropped off at the river.
The four rode out to Sungai Naga, but when they weren’t able to catch any fish, they moved on to a new river: Sungai Kencong. Here, Pian left the rest behind and drove to Dicky’s house. Dicky was initially invited to join them in fishing, but was also asked to bring a machete.
Upon grouping up at Sungai Kencong, Dicky was asked to take care of Mawar while Femasili was taken by Pian and Delfi to the store to buy cake. Instead of buying the cake, however, the two men bought a bundle of white plastic bags, drinks, and a box cutter. They then brought Femasili down a slope within the Eucalyptus forest, which was the same location where they murdered Marjevan.
Femasili was asked to masturbate, in front of the two men. Again, this was to check for potency and when Delfi was satisfied with the result, he promptly asked Pian to use the root of an acacia tree to strangle the child. Pian then used his own machete to decapitate the deceased Femasili, before using the box cutter to skin him from neck to his torso and to slice open both of his legs length-wise*. His organs and body were then cut into multiple pieces that were placed into 7 of the white plastic bags.
During this process, the two murderers left for a short while to meet up with Dicky and Mawar. It was to their surprise that their accomplice met them half-way alone. Mawar, fortunately, had escaped after rebelling against Dicky. He was a newcomer at Perawang, having only lived there for the past three days, and was suspicious of strangers.
The last boy, Daud, had also left after waiting at their original fishing spot for two hours.
Settling for a single victim, the three went back to Femasili. The rest of the child’s remains were left hidden under dried leaves, and the weapon and the other plastic bags were thrown into the forest.
Femasili’s heart and livers were sold to a palm wine shop. The owner, believing that they were the parts of a cow, cooked them into rendang (traditional Indonesian dish) for her husband and their friends. Later on, upon hearing that they had eaten human flesh, the owner’s husband immediately vomited and started cursing her.
As mentioned, a witness came forward to point out Delfi’s involvement in Femasili’s disappearance, which led towards the discovery of his other victims and accomplices.
*Please Note: Translation on the ‘decapitation’ part may not be accurate. It is either that, or Pian made a deep cut in the neck for the ease of skinning the torso.
The Sentencing of Delfi and His Accomplices
The verdict hearing took place on the12th of February 2015, and the three adult perpetrators — Delfi, Dita, and Pian — were sentenced to death.
During the hearing, Judge Sorta Ria Neva SH wept as he listened to the atrocious crimes that was committed. It was with enthusiasm that he delivered the death sentences, right after Delfi begged for his life to be spared. Dita and Pian also asked for the sentence to be appealed.
On the other hand, Dicky, who was 16 y/o at the time of Femasili’s murder, was acquitted of the crime. He was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison, which is the maximum penalty for underaged offenders. However, as he did not take part in the murder and only witnessed it happening, he was found not guilty. The prosecutor couldn’t accept this outcome and filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Regarding the appeals, there’s a lack of update so we may assume that the sentences have remained the same since then.
While researching this, I learned a lot of Indonesian words that I wish I read in a different context. Writing this was also very discomforting, I had to take a lot of breaks. The information was also very scattered and some parts contradicted one another so I had to compare a lot of sources to differentiate between the truth and sensationalism. A few details have been omitted because they were too gruesome.
There’s still hope that the remains of Febrian Dela will be discovered, and that family will step forward to claim Aci’s body. Again, if anyone knows more information on the case or if there’s any way to support the victims’ families, do comment below, thank you!