From the Daily Express (Nov 20): Head and body (likely Then's) found 30km apart
PHILIPPINE authorities have separately recovered a severed head and a headless body, they believe to be that of Malaysian Bernard Then Ted Fen in Sulu.
The discoveries were made some 30km apart, within 24 hours. Philippine Armed Forces Joint Forces Zambasulta spokesman Captain Vincent Trinidad said the body was found in Indanan about 4.30pm yesterday while the head was recovered earlier in Jolo about 8.30pm on Tuesday.
Indanan and Jolo are districts under the Sulu province. Trinidad said the remains recovered had been sent for analysis, including for a DNA test, for identification purposes.
Then, 39, an electrical engineer from Sarawak, and restaurant owner Thien Nyuk Fun, 50, were kidnapped from a restaurant in Sandakan on May 14. Thien was released on Nov 8 and escorted back to Sandakan the following day.
"The authorities are trying to determine if he was beheaded alive or if his head was severed after he had died. We understand that there had been numerous reports, including that he had been sickly."
Trinidad was referring to unconfirmed reports that Then was killed by terror group Abu Sayyaf because he was slowing them as they were on the run, to evade strikes by the authorities.
"We have informed the general headquarters in Manila (about the recoveries) and they are in contact with the Malaysian embassy on the matter," he said.
"The Commander of the Joint Task Force Zambasulta has condemned the perpetrators of this barbaric act against an innocent civilian," Trinidad said of the unit that covered Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces, under the West Mindanao Command of the Philippine Armed Forces.
He said Then, was reportedly beheaded by Abu Sayyaf, led by its sub-leaders, Alden Bagade and Idang Susukan, about 4pm on Tuesday. Trinidad said the head was found inside a package, with a note attached bearing "Bernard Then Ted Fen", and that the discovery was made by the Jolo Municipal Police about 8.30pm.
He said it was left in Marina Street, Barangay Walled City, Jolo, and was handed over to the Western Mindanao Command for further action.
Following the recovery, the authorities were led to Barangay Kagay in Indanan where they found the headless body about 4.30pm yesterday.
Then is the first known kidnapped victim plucked from Sabah, believed to have been executed while in the custody of Abu Sayyaf.