’48 Hours: Spies, Lies & Secrets’ on Saturday, October 5
via press release:
To his parents, Shane Todd was a brilliant, high-tech engineer at a Singapore company who was murdered because he was unwilling to share secrets that could harm the United States. To police in Singapore, he was an American who killed himself.
Peter Van Sant and 48 HOURS investigate the circumstances around the unusual death of Shane Todd in “Spies, Lies & Secrets,” to be broadcast Oct. 5, 2013 (10:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. It’s a story about the around-the-world quest by a Montana family to find out what happened to their son – a son who expressed concerns that he might never see his family again and gave clear instructions to his parents about what to do if they didn’t hear from him.
“After Shane’s death we’ve been thrown into a spy movie, an intriguing espionage story that would be fascinating if it wasn’t about us,” Shane Todd’s mother, Mary Todd, tells 48 HOURS.
In June 2012, Shane Todd, 31, then a research engineer at the Institute of Microelectronics, was found dead in his Singapore apartment. Police say he hanged himself on the bathroom door. Todd’s parents believe he was killed because he was unwilling to go along with a plan to share cutting edge American technology with China. His suicide didn’t make sense to his family because was preparing to leave Singapore in a matter of days for a new job in Virginia.
“Our son was murdered. We believe it’s espionage. We believe we’re uncovering something much bigger than our son,” Mary Todd tells 48 HOURS, adding, “there’s not one shred of evidence that Shane committed suicide, not one.”
But Singapore police found five typed suicide notes in his laptop. His family says they’re not written by Shane Todd. His mother also says a Singapore detective initially told them about an elaborate pulley system Shane allegedly used to hang himself. But when Mary Todd visited Shane’s apartment within days of the supposed suicide, there was no evidence of what the detective allegedly described. Instead, the Todds found the belongings of a man looking to head back to America.
Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Ray Bonner, a consultant to 48 HOURS on the story, says police in Singapore made mistakes in the investigation, such as not dusting for fingerprints. “I’m quite surprised. Singapore is not a third world banana republic. It is quite sophisticated,” says Bonner, who broke the story of the strange events around Shane Todd’s death in London’s Financial Times. With pressure mounting, Singapore expanded a coroner’s inquest into Shane Todd’s death.
Van Sant travels to Singapore with the Todd family to retrace Shane Todd’s final days alive and piece together what may have happened to the Todds’ firstborn son, and report on the startling findings of the inquest. 48 HOURS also speaks with Shane’s girlfriend, Shirley Sarmiento, Shane’s neighbor, Michael Goodwin, forensic pathology expert Dr. Edward Adelstein, and forensic computer analyst Ashraf Massoud, to shed light on the mystery surrounding Shane’s death.
48 HOURS: “Spies, Lies & Secrets” is produced by Paul LaRosa, Allen Alter and Ryan Smith. Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.