Man With Dementia Who Was Missing for 3 Days Found Dead in Hougang Drain


On 2 Jan this year, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) made an urgent appeal to the public over the disappearance of an elderly man.

The 80-year-old old resident, William Leck Swe Chua, was last seen in the vicinity of Block 313 Hougang Avenue 5 on New Year’s Eve.

Image: SPF

The police urged anyone with knowledge over Leck’s whereabouts to come forward, as his family were desperate to locate him.

The police have finally found the elderly man, but sadly, it’s not good news.

Man With Dementia Who Was Missing for 3 Days Found Dead in Hougang Drain

After going missing for three days, the 80-year-old was found dead in a drain yesterday (5 Jan) in Hougang.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call for assistance at about 7.10pm that day. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered a body in a drain near 42 Defu Lane 7.

It was around 1.3km (a 20-minute walk) from where he lived—Block 313 Hougang Avenue 5.


Leck was pronounced dead at the scene. The police do not suspect foul play, based on their initial investigations. His death was classed as a case of unnatural death, however.

Investigations are ongoing.

Suffered From Dementia

Reports revealed that the 80-year-old was suffering from dementia.

After he was diagnosed with the condition last year, his family hired a caretaker to look after him at home. He was also looked after at a care centre during the day.


It was the caretaker who first informed Leck’s family that he had gone missing.

According to Lianhe Zaobao, Leck’s family had lost contact with him on 1 Jan at around 6:30pm. They looked for Leck in the Hougang area, but couldn’t find him.

They then reported him missing to the police who put out a notice the next day appealing for information on his whereabouts.

When they finally received the tragic news that Leck had been found dead, they were shocked, but also puzzled as to how he ended up there.

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A Debilitating Condition 

For those who don’t know, dementia is a condition that impairs one’s ability to remember, think, or make everyday decisions.

Though it mostly affects older adults, it is not a part of normal aging.

Early signs of the condition include:

  • forgetfulness
  • losing track of the time
  • becoming lost in familiar places

Dementia is a progressive disease, meaning symptoms can gradually worsen as time goes on.

The heartbreaking thing about this condition is that those suffering from late-stage dementia may have difficulty recognizing relatives and friends.

While there’s no sure way to prevent dementia, there are certain things you can do to reduce your risk:

  • eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • exercising regularly
  • keeping alcohol within recommended limits
  • stopping smoking
  • keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level

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