“I was cooking on my stove” a calm and collected voice with an Australian accent explained.
“It’s an electric stove and the stock pot boiled over, dripped down and got into the oven and basically made this big bang and then the power turned off.”
“Does it sound like something you would be able to fix today?” He enquired.
Sounds like a completely normal call to an electrician doesn’t it?
Following the call, the electrician showed up to the apartment in Brisbane, Australia and was greeted by the resident; a man in his twenties named Marcus Volke, who said that he was a chef and was cooking a pork broth when it boiled over and short-circuited the electricity.
The apartment (named “Double one 3”) was in a wealthy suburb in Tenerife, Queensland, on Commercial Road, where old wool stores had been recently renovated into luxury apartments. An odd stench hung in the air. “It’s just the broth”, Volke assured the man.
The electrician, a 28 year old British man named Brad Coyne, did his job and fixed the problem, but felt uneasy about the visit and placed a call to the local authorities after he left.
The stench did not go unnoticed by neighbors either and some reported that there was a foul odor about the place that got progressively worse to the point that it made them feel nauseated.
Officers eventually showed up to the residence, where the broth was still bubbling away on the newly fixed electric stove. Constable Liam McWhinney leaned in to take a closer look at the stockpot when he made a gruesome discovery. A human foot was bobbing up and down in the stock.
According to this Metro news report McWhinney claimed that he thought it was a joke. Maybe he thought he was being secretly filmed for a prank video and someone was going to jump out and reveal the gag. After all, Halloween was creeping closer. It was the 3rd of October (2014).
But looking around the apartment the grim reality that he was standing in a crime scene dawned on him. As he walked across the carpet it felt wet beneath his feet, on closer inspection he realized that it was saturated with blood. Bleach, rubber gloves and a meat cleaver were also present.
Like a scene from a horror film he opened up the washing machine door to find the severed head of a woman and various other body parts (later confirmed to be arms) in a plastic bag inside.
Marcus Volke apparently panicked and leaped over the balcony, landing in the street below and taking off on foot.
The police gave chase and found him inside an empty bin where he had died as a result of self-inflicted injuries. Volke had slashed his own throat as well as his wrists and had bled out.
Without the victim or her murderer alive to tell the tale, the full extent of what happened between the two will never be known, but an investigation into the pair would slowly give an insight into the events that lead to the murder-suicide.
Marcus Volke was indeed a chef, but he also had another occupation that he kept well hidden from friends and family; he was a male escort.
His victim was a transgender woman named Mayang Prasetyo, the two were actually married and had only just moved into the apartment, so naturally the neighbors had not had much, if any, contact with them. Reports state that their marriage was not born out of love but business. Mayang would get a visa to remain in Australia and in return would help Marcus out with getting work in transgender clubs to pay off his debts. From all outward appearances they seemed to be a regular young couple, but a couple of nights before police were called to the apartment, neighbors had heard the two arguing loudly.
Prasetyo, still known on her passport as Febri Andriansyah, had undergone cosmetic surgery in Thailand and was in the process of transitioning. Mayang was reportedly advertised as a “ladyboy” and would make around $300-$500 per hour. She sent her earnings back to her home country of Indonesia in order to put her younger siblings through school and improve her family’s standard of living. Although her family had met her husband, they were not aware of that the pair worked in the sex industry. Marcus Volke's family was not even aware that he was married. He worked under the pseudonym of “Heath XL” while working outside of Australia, using his nationality as part of his sales pitch to potential clients.
As part of an agency the two would be sent to different countries to work. This meant that Marcus Volke needed a good cover story. According to an article in the Mirror newspaper the couple had met each other on a cruise boat. From what I can gather, Marcus Volke claimed he was working as a chef there at the time and his wife to be was dancing in a cabaret act. However this article states that Volke and Prasetyo met at a club (“The pleasure dome” described as “Melbourne’s first transsexual brothel”) where they were both working as escorts. This Indonesian website references a report from a friend of the couple who said that the cruise ship story was a cover-up on Volke’s part, in order to keep his loved ones in the dark about his job. It is possible that he was so secretive of his double life that may have killed and covered up the murder of his own partner in order to keep the truth from coming out.
(Pleasure Dome in Melbourne. Source)
News.au reports that Volke had been having mental health issues and he suffered with depression, a sleep disorder and generalized anxiety. His ex-girlfriend revealed that she believed Marcus was in a bad place and that he wasn’t living the life he wanted to.
(Marcus Volke. Source)
Although no one knows for certain what exactly happened the night that Mayang was murdered, it’s believed that the pair got into an argument and that the young Indonesia woman may have threatened to reveal Volke's secret life to his family. Then, either deliberately or accidentally, Mayang ended up dying at the hands of her Australian husband who attempted to cover up the murder by decapitating and boiling her body piece by piece.
Would Volke have gotten away with the crime if he hadn’t run into complications with his cooker?
Most likely not with the aid of modern forensics coupled with the foul odor and the fact that nobody had seen or had contact with Mayang after hearing an aggressive argument between the two. It probably would have taken a while for police to make a welfare call without the prompt from the apartment manager and maybe Volke could have relocated and never been found again.
What we do know is that two young people lost their lives unnecessarily. The police were recently at trial to determine weather of not they could have done anything to prevent the deaths of Volke and Mayang. They were deemed to have acted appropriately and cleared.