A Brisbane Chef brutally murdered his transgender beauty queen wife, before boiling her body in a stock pot. It sounds like a made-up story, the plot of a midday movie, not something that happened in a fancy suburb of Brisbane not that long ago.
On the 5th October 2014, Police attended the ground floor of an upscale Tenneriffe apartment, responding to reports of an ‘eye-watering smell’ and conducting a welfare check on Mayang Prasetyo.
The building supervisor had received multiple complaints from residents in the building about the smell coming from the unit, and disturbing reports about very loud arguments between the unit’s residents, Marcus Volke, and his wife, Mayang Prasetyo. But what really set off alarm bells was the reports from an electrician who had been inside the unit, and had witnessed seeing blood in the floor, bleach, gloves, and an overflowing stockpot that had tripped the electricity.
What the Police found was shocking, as was the aftermath. The brutal killing became known as the ‘Transgender Beauty Queen Murder’. Here’s how it all went down.
Who Was Mayang Prasetyo?
Mayang was born ‘Febri Andriansynah’, a little boy in Lampung, a province of Sumatra, Indonesia. She had two little sisters. Her mother Nining Sukarni always thought his son was more like a girl, so she wasn’t surprised when little Febri told his mother he wanted to transition to live as a woman.
Febri chose the name ‘Mayang’ and started her transition. Her mother said that she was loud and spirited, and she always looked after her family. Her mother was supportive of her transition.
Mayang moved to Australia to financially support herself and her family back home in Indonesia. Mayang was working as a high-class transgender escort at the Pleasure Dome in Melbourne, charging her clients up to $500 per hour.
Mayang met Volke at the Pleasure Dome, a Melbourne brothel. Other girls who worked there were said to of been afraid of Volke as he once bought a gun into work. He was also very aggressive towards the transexuals at the club, and was a known ice user.
In 2013, Mayang rang her mother at home and asked for her blessing to marry her Australian boyfriend. The couple traveled to Indonesia so Marcus could meet Mayang’s family.
Mayang’s mother said of meeting Volke:
“He was kind and loving, shy and reserved. In our eyes, he was kind.”
After basing themselves in Bali for a while, the couple then traveled to Brisbane. They rented the brand new apartment in the ritzy suburb of Tenneriffe and started advertising their services. One of Mayang’s online advertisements read:
“Better in real life. Pictures are always real. Real deal pre-op functional hot TS. With a great fit and hot body to enjoy.
Volke advertised his services under the pseudonym ‘Heath XL’, describing himself as
‘A young Australian boy open to all kinds of people, ages and backgrounds.”
The couple, who always had a volatile relationship, started to fight over the fact that Mayang wanted to return to her home in Bali.
Who was Marcus Volke?
Marcus Volke was a 27-year-old country boy from Haddon, just 12km from Ballarat in Victoria. He had three siblings and had trained with his brother as a chef. He was an animal lover with a keen interest in nutrition. His Facebook Page showed that he wrote often about the pro’s and con’s of the vegan lifestyle.
He left home to travel the world. Citing he was a chef by trade, he had a particular interest in creating bone broths. His family thought that he was working as a Chief on cruise ships to make a living.
His parents were well-known and respected members of the Ballarat community. His father ran the local karate dojo, and Volke attended and attained a black belt.
He was only working part-time as he had been suffering from mental health issues that interfered with his work. He had previously been referred for treatment at the Ballarat Psychiatric Service due to longstanding anxiety and depressive episodes. He was prescribed antidepressants and then commenced treatment with a private psychiatrist.
To make ends meet, he had been doing escort work to support himself and pay off the debts incurred by his ice addiction.
He met his future wife, Mayang, in Melbourne during the course of their sex work.
The Lead-Up to the Murder
The couple (both 27) came to an agreement whereby Volke would marry Mayang to procure her a permanent visa in Australia, and Mayang in return would introduce Volke to the various transgender clubs both in Australia and overseas and would also help Volke pay off his substantial debts. Their sex work took them all over the world.
Volke had been seeking treatment for mental health issues in the weeks leading up to the murder. This affected the couple’s relationship and when Mayang threatened to expose Volke as a sex worker to his parents, the couple’s fight turned deadly.
The Murder of Mayang Prasetyo
Marcus Volke and his wife Mayang Prasetyo had moved to the Tenneriffe apartment just two weeks prior. The swanky apartment building Tenneriffe was brand new and had only been opened a few weeks before. They choose the bottom apartment as it had a courtyard that would be suitable for the couple’s five dogs.
On the evening of the 3rd of October 2014 at about 11.30pm, the couple was heard arguing loudly in their apartment. The argument lasted from 30 – 40 minutes and escalated to the point where Ms Prasetyo was heard to be screaming ‘fuck you’, and ‘I can’t believe you!’.
At 1.30am, the couple was again heard arguing. This second argument wasn’t as loud as the first one.
Later that same morning, Volke attended the hospital with a large laceration on his hand he said he got from a knife cut. He told the doctor at the hospital that his girlfriend was crazy, and she had come at him with a knife. The cut was so deep that Volke was to organise to have the tendons in his hand repaired.
What the hospital didn’t know, was that Volke had used that knife to kill and dismember his wife’s body, before cooking her remains in a ‘human bone broth’.
At 6pm that evening, Voke attended a Newstead supermarket where he purchased gloves, bleach, a scrubbing brush, garbage bags, wipes and laundry soaker.
By the morning of the 4th October, the strange smell started emanating from the couple’s apartment.
By the evening of the 4th, the smell was so bad that tenants began complaining about the smell to the unit manager. Tenants also told the unit manager about the loud fighting coming from the unit the night before.
Volke had called an electrician to report a problem with his oven
“G’Day, is this a 24-hour electrician? Yeah, I’ve got a bit of a problem. I was cooking on my stove. it’s an electric stove and the stock boiled over dripped down and umm, got in the oven. And it basically made this big bang and then all my power turned off. Does it sound like something you’d be able to fix today?”
Electrician Brad Coyne attended to the problem and was immediately struck with the horrific smell in the unit.
‘You’ll have to mind the smell’, Volke said to Mr Coyne when he opened the door to his apartment on the ground floor.
Volke told Mr Coyne that he had been cooking pig’s broth.
“Obviously the smell is quite strong” Volke commented.
As Mr Coyne made his way further into Volke’s apartment, he noticed that the carpet squelched under his feet. He noticed an industrial-sized pot on the stove, together with a colander, rubber gloves, and bleach.
On his way out of the apartment, Mr Coyne spoke with the building’s management and let them know there was something going on at apartment three. The Manager knocked on Volke’s door, but he refused her entrance saying ‘You need to give seven days notice.’
The building manager didn’t hesitate any longer and called Police to conduct a welfare check on Volke’s wife.
One of the other residents of the apartment said of the smell:
“Like as if somebody had put out some dog food or red meat and left it out for a few days.”
Police Are Called to the Unit
Ten minutes after the call from the Unit Manager, Fortitude Valley Police knocked on the door of the Unit Manager who explained the situation – and the smell.
unit three. They knew immediately what the smell was. The two Police officers spoke briefly to Volke at the door of the unit, they could see blood on the floor, and the bleach lying nearby. They asked Volke about the whereabouts of his wife, he told Police she had run away and gone back to Indonesia. Officers told Volke they intended to come into the unit to check out the smell without a warrant, Volke told Police he just had to go and secure his dogs. He closed the door and locked it.
Police burst through the apartment door, Volke with a knife in his hand, leaped over the back railing of the unit and through the garden bed into a nearby laneway.
Once in the laneway, he climbed inside one of the industrial-sized bins, and slit his own throat and wrists.
Police dog squad found Volke’s body soon after.
Police were shocked when they took a further look at the unit. Body parts were strewn over the unit. Boiling in the pot, were Mayang’s feet with the toes poking out from the liquid. The officers then exited the unit and alerted the station about a potential homicide.
Police officers at the scene described it as ‘confronting’.
The Aftermath of the Murder
An autopsy of Ms Prasetyo’s body revealed that she had been cut into portions. The head and upper neck, the upper torso without limbs, and the lower torso without limbs.
Volke was laid to rest in his hometown of Ballarat with 250 family and friends packed into the chapel at the Doveton Park Funeral Centre. No mention of the murder was made during his funeral service.
It took a while for Mayang’s remains to be formally identified. However once done, her remains were released to her family back in Indonesia.
Coroners’ Inquest into the Murder
A Coroners Inquest was ordered as Marcus Volke’s death was considered a ‘Death in Custody’ under the Coroners Act 2003. Whenever a death occurs whilst a person is trying to avoid being put into a custody, an inquest is mandatory.
The inquest found that little could have been done little to prevent the deaths. The death was ruled a Domestic Abuse Homicide.
The Brisbane Coroner noted that the case was a devastating reminder of the existence and reality of domestic violence for LGBTI people whose suffering remained largely hidden.
- Herald Sun: Killer Chef Marcus Volke Who Murdered and Dismembered Partner
- The Courier Mail: Dark Story Behind the Murder-Suicide of Mayang Prasetyo and Marcus Volke in Teneriffe
- The Daily Mail.co.uk Funeral Transgender Woman Brutally Murdered Chopped Boiled Chemicals Boyfriend
- The Guardian: Police Not to Blame for Mayang Prasetyo and Marcus Volke Deaths Coroner Rules
- Coroners Court of Queensland: Findings of Inquest into the Deaths of Marcus Peter Volke and Mayang Prasetyo