House where human skeletal remains were found to be auctioned for $1.7-1.9 Million

The Public Trustee’s Office (PTO) will be auctioning a terraced house off Upper Thomson Road on February 27. The PTO acts as administrator for the estates of people who have passed away.

The house was owned by Ruby and Pearl Tan, a pair of reclusive, elderly sisters. In 2006, officers from the National Environment Agencies entered the home, located at 17 Jalan Batai, for a mosquito check and found a skeleton in the closet.

Another skull and thigh bone were discovered by a contractor last year, who had entered the home to clear rubble.

While the DNA from both the remains could not be clearly identified, the coroner’s report revealed that the remains belonged to elderly women. Neighbours report that neither Pearl nor Ruby, who would have been 81 and 68 respectively in 2006, have been seen in over a decade.

Neighbours recall that the elderly sisters who owned the house had lived with their mother,


This is not the first time that human remains were found in the property. Nearly a decade before, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) sent officials to inspect the property for mosquito breeding, they allegedly found a human skeleton lying on a toilet.

Ruby and Pearl Tan disappeared without legal beneficiaries and a will, which is why, under the Intestate Succession Act, the state took possession of the house in 2015.

A year and a half ago, the PTO approached interested parties, asking them to file a claim for the estate. While a niece and two nephews came forward, their claims did not succeed. After this, Knight Frank was engaged by the PTO to facilitate the auction of the property.

Tricia Tan, the deputy director of auction and sales for Knight Frank, is in charge of marketing the property. She says that it is unusual for PTO to facilitate such sales, citing only one other PTO sale from August 2017 that of a a 398 sq. ft studio apartment at The Cotz in Telok Kurau, also facilitated by Knight Frank.  The property went for $500,000 ($1,255 psf).

The property that belonged to the Tan sisters has an area of 1,720 sq, and is listed at $1.7 million to $1.9 million. This is equivalent to between  $988 and $1,105 psf.  It has been vacant for many years, in contrast to the rest of the houses in the neighborhood, many of which have been renovated or remodeled into multi-storey houses.

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