“You have to mind the smell,” Marcus Peter Volke allegedly told the electrician. “I’m cooking up a pig’s broth at the moment.”
Volke had phoned Brad Coyne, an on-call electrician, Saturday evening to have his stove looked at. Unbeknownst to Coyne, the foul-smelling “pig’s broth” was actually the dismembered body parts of Mayang Prasetyo, Volke’s transgender wife, boiling in pots of water.
Coyne claims the apartment was very dark when he arrived and that the carpet “squelched under foot.” He took a look at the oven, found nothing wrong, and promptly left.
Later that night, police arrived at the apartment after neighbors called to complain about a “bad smell” coming from inside the residence. What they found were severed parts of Prasetyo’s body strewn about the kitchen and others cooking on the stove.
Volke had no criminal record or known history of mental illness, and family members say the couple gave no any indication of trouble in their marriage. The two met while working on a cruise ship and married last year, honeymooning in Germany. They had just recently moved to Brisbane.
He was a professional chef. She was a “high-class” prostitute, charging up to $435 an hour for her services and marketed herself online as a “top high-class Asian shemale.” She used the money she earned to support her family back in Indonesia.
Prasetyo’s mother, Nining Sukarni, spoke to the Courier-Mail yesterday from her home in Lampung, Indonesia. She said she was heartbroken by the loss of her eldest child, whom she referred to as her son Febri. Each month, Febri sent money home.
“He put the sisters through school,” Sukarni said.
According to Sukarni, Prasetyo “seemed fine” the last time they spoke, though she said she was bored in Brisbane and was contemplating a move to Bali. She also told her mother she had started a business breeding small dogs.
When the police showed up at the apartment Saturday night, Volke immediately fled the scene. Police found him dead in a nearby dumpster, having slit his own throat.
Now, at least one media outlet is in hot water for its treatment of the story. The Courier Mail ran the headline “Monster Chef and the She-Male” on its front page and “Ladyboy and the Butcher” inside, sparking outrage from trans activists.
Melody Moore, coordinator of Trans Health Australia, called the headline “disgusting” and accused the paper of “dehumanizing a trans woman.”
Others took to social media to scold the newspaper. One person on Facebook wrote: “An innocent person just lost their life to a maniac and you nail her coffin to the front page of your publication with such a salacious and unnecessary headline.”
Some questioned the paper’s decision to run photos of the deceased in a bikini.
The paper has since changed the headline to “Killed and cooked trans woman was high-class sex worker,” but it has not responded to the controversy, though John McCarthy, a journalist at the paper, tweeted, “It’s a great story. Grow up and join the real world.”