Former Marine reportedly confesses to brutal drug-related homicide in Taiwan
By MATTHEW M. BURKE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 12, 2018
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Local media reports say a former Marine arrested over the summer in connection with a grisly drug-related homicide on Taiwan has allegedly confessed to the crime.
Ewart Odane Bent, 30, was taken into custody Aug. 24 by Taiwanese police in connection to the death of Ramgahan Sanjay Ryan, a 43-year-old Canadian man who was killed and then dismembered with machetes on the evening of Aug. 21, according to the English-language Taiwan News.
Both Bent and Ryan were English teachers reportedly involved with a local drug ring.
Bent allegedly confessed to premeditated homicide and took investigators to the scene of the crime earlier this month, according to Taiwan News, which cited the nation’s Criminal Investigation Bureau.
The reported confession came on the heels of the extradition of a second suspect. Israeli-American tattoo shop owner and former Israel Defense Forces soldier Oren Shlomo Mayer, 37, fled Taiwan for the Philippines after the killing. He was extradited back to Taiwan on Sept. 17.
Bent served in the Marines from Dec. 6, 2006, to Aug. 7, 2009, as a cryogenics equipment operator, Marine officials told Stars and Stripes. His last duty station was on Okinawa with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Taiwanese media reports said Bent moved to the country at the behest of Mayer.
Bent, Mayer and Ryan allegedly began collaborating on selling marijuana, mostly to foreigners, Taiwan News said.
Taiwanese media said the victim, Ryan, became known to police after an investigation into marijuana sales led them back to him earlier this year. He was reportedly arrested with a large amount of marijuana but later released.
Bent and Mayer suspected he had become a police informant when some of their colleagues were arrested on drug-related charges, Taiwan News said.
Bent told authorities that he and Mayer “lured” Ryan to a riverside park in New Taipei City where he usually walked his dog and conducted business, Taiwan News said.
The pair struck up a casual conversation with Ryan and played with the animal, the report said. The trio then proceeded down an embankment to the river where they drank beer.
Bent allegedly told authorities that Mayer choked an inebriated Ryan to death with a wire chord, Taiwan News reported. The pair then chopped up his body, placed it in plastic trash bags and threw them into the river.
The dog ran home and reportedly led two of Ryan’s friends to his body the next day.
Police began to focus their homicide investigation on Bent because Ryan’s phone showed they had argued over drugs, Taiwan News reported. Bent’s phone also placed him in the area at the time of the killing.
Bent allegedly told authorities that he waited until Mayer was in custody to confess to his role in the crime because he feared retribution, Taiwan News reported. He shuddered and broke down when investigators brought him back to the crime scene.
“Please don’t make me think back to such a terrible thing,” the report said he told police.
Prosecutors are investigating whether a third man was involved in the killing, Taiwan News reported. Wu Hsuan, 21, a Taiwanese-Canadian man who worked as a nightclub promoter, was arrested after Ryan’s slaying.
Wu allegedly colluded with Bent and Mayer in selling drugs at the club, Taiwan News said. He told police that he purchased the machetes used to dismember Ryan’s body and stood lookout while they killed Ryan.
He was later released on about $10,000 bond, and his attorneys have since denied that he was present at the time of the killing.
Bent has reportedly told police that Wu monitored the Taipei side of the Sindian River and set off fireworks when Ryan neared the meeting point, Taiwan News reported. Police are considering administering a polygraph test.