A British businessman and his Filipino partner were arrested in Hong Kong on Monday after their 15-year-old daughter fell to her death from their apartment building in Repulse Bay.
The two were held over accusations of “ill treatment” of their daughter after police investigating the case discovered that the teenager and her 14-year-old sister were never registered and had never gone to school.
The teen’s mother, 53-year-old Grace Garcia Cousins, had also been arrested for overstaying her visa, according to police sources cited in an SCMP report. Nick Cousins, 57, is a managing director of the international broker firm Jardine Lloyd Thompson. It’s unclear whether the two are married, although she has taken his last name.
The two were reportedly watching TV at their apartment, located in one of Hong Kong’s most luxurious residential blocks, when Grace Garcia Cousins found her daughter, Blanca, locked inside a bathroom just before 2:00 a.m. The teen fell from the 21st-floor window as her parents attempted to unlock the door.
A security guard alerted police after hearing a loud noise and finding the girl at the foot of the building, unconscious. She was declared dead at the scene.
The teen had allegedly been “unhappy” in recent weeks, but no suicide note was found at the apartment. A police spokeswoman said that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Investigators are now questioning why the parents did not apply for the necessary documents for their daughters.
School attendance is mandatory in Hong Kong, although some expats are able to get away with home schooling their kids without official permission. It’s understood that Blanca and her sister were only sent to a private tutorial center to study.
An expat in the city who knows the family described Nick Cousins as being “down to earth and decent,” adding that he “worked his way up the corporate ladder and is just very bright and good at what he does.”
Grace Garcia Cousins moved from the Philippines to Hong Kong in 1990 to work as a domestic helper. She and Nick Cousins have lived together since 1994, a police source said.
The teen’s father has since been released on bail. As of yesterday, the mother was still being held for questioning.
– Do not leave the person alone
– Remove any sharp objects, alcohol, drugs or firearms that could be used in a suicide attempt
– Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
– Call the following hotlines for help: Lifeline Shanghai: 021-6279-8990 (English speakers; 10am – 10pm daily); HopeLine: 4001619995 (Chinese speakers; 24/7 toll-free access)