As they spent their final moments with their dying baby, an Australian couple received text messages demanding $1000 for the return of a phone filled with precious pictures of their daughter’s last few months.
But when police detained the suspected blackmailer, two days after the 11-month-old had passed away, their hopes of getting the phone back were shattered with the news that the blackmail had been a hoax.
Jay and Dee Windross had pleaded for the return of a Samsung Galaxy S8 full of photographs and videos of their daughter, Amiyah, after it was left on April 20 in the bathroom of a shopping mall in Melbourne.
They had asked people to leave the phone at the front desk of the Monash Children’s Hospital, where their daughter was in intensive care.
Amiyah has suffered from an unknown neurological illness since she was born, which she finally succumbed to on April 25.
It is with utter sadness that Dee and I inform everyone that Amiyah Victoria grew her wings at 2.05am on Wednesday…
“This phone holds the memories of what little life our daughter has had,” wrote Jay Windross on Facebook. “If you want the phone, we’re more than happy to arrange to meet, we’ll copy the photos off the phone and you can keep the phone. What is on the phone is worth more than anything in our life.”
The couple heard nothing. Then a few days later, as they started to say their goodbyes to their daughter, whose condition had worsened, they received a text message from someone claiming to have the phone.
“This text message described serious remorse for picking up the phone and not returning it sooner. However, their condition was, they wanted $1000 to be deposited into their account for the return of the phone.”
According to Jay, the person continued to message her while she and her husband were having their final moments with Amiyah.
Police managed to track down the would-be blackmailer, Siti Nurhidayah, an Uber eats driver who they charged with one count of blackmail, according to Australian media reports.
But, according to the police, she didn’t have the phone.
“It was a hoax!,” wrote Windross. “Not only was it a complete and utter waste of my time, it was interrupting my final moments with my dying daughter.”
“I was originally trying to find compassion for this woman and the possible situation she might be going through to take this desperate step to embezzle money, but now I am sickened that this would actually be a thought in her mind, let alone act on it.”
“So, we’re back where we were,” he wrote. “We are still desperate to find our phone as it’s still out there somewhere.”
Nurhidayah had been in the country for four months, and has two children of her own in Malaysia.
The 24 year old has only been living in Aus since last Sept. She’d been working as an Uber Eats delivery cyclist. Her lawyer is arguing she isn’t a flight risk, despite having 2 young kids at home in Malaysia. pic.twitter.com/SThglH8PMD
— Annie Kearney (@anniemaykearney) April 29, 2019