Murder investigation launched after body of missing London woman found in Devon

A murder investigation has been launched after the body of a woman who went missing in London was discovered in the Devon town of Salcombe.

Mee Kuen Chong, 67, known to friends as Deborah, was found in woodland near to Bennett Road in the coastal town at about 5pm on June 27.

She had been reported missing from her home in the Wembley area of London on June 11.

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Her death was initially treated as unexplained, with the investigation originally led by Devon and Cornwall Police.

On Tuesday, enquiries by the force in south Devon and the London area led to a murder investigation being launched by the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime command.

A post-mortem examination took place at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital last week but a cause of death has not yet been ascertained.

Police said a 36-year-old woman was arrested at a residential address in Kilburn on suspicion of murder on Tuesday evening.

She remained in custody at a police station in north London.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who is leading the murder investigation, said: “The discovery of Mee’s body is a tragic development and my thoughts are with her family and friends.

“At this stage, we are working on establishing the full circumstances surrounding Mee’s death and in particular her movements.

“I would ask anyone who saw her between Thursday June 10 and Sunday June 27, either in London or Devon, who has not yet spoken to police, to please come forward.

“It is absolutely vital that anyone who may have information about Mee’s movements over this period share what they know to help us fully understand what happened to her.”

The Met said cordons remained in place at the address in Kilburn, as well as in south Devon, with police searches likely to continue over the coming days.

Mrs Chong was originally from Malaysia but had been living in Wembley for more than 30 years.

Her family had been updated about the investigation and were being supported by specially trained officers, police said.

The Met’s directorate of professional standards had been informed following the discovery of Mrs Chong’s body, which a spokesman said was “standard procedure”.

A referral has also been made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Anyone with information is asked to call 0208 358 0300 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.