Mee Kuen Chong death is being treated as murder (Image: PA)
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The death of a woman from London whose "headless" body was found in a seaside town two weeks after she disappeared is now being treated as murder.
Mee Kuen Chong, 67, was found in woodland in the Devon town of Salcombe at about 5pm on June 27.
Ms Chong, who was known as Deborah, had been reported missing from her home near Wembley Stadium on June 11.
Her death was initially treated as unexplained, with the investigation originally led by Devon and Cornwall Police.
However 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.
Ms Chong was reported missing on June 11
(Image: Metropolitan Police / SWNS)
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.
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.
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.
Ms Chong's body was found in Salcombe
(Image: Devon Live / BPM Media)
“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.
Neighbours have described her as very religious, pleasant and friendly. But they say she was considered vulnerable.
A local resident, who did not want to be identified, told the Harrow Times: “We knew her well. She's a member of a church, very religious."
He added that residents were aware she had disappeared: “We were shocked to find out she was dead.
Police have launched a murder investigation
(Image: Devon Live / BPM Media)
"She's an old lady, it's not the best time to be on your own out there with the pandemic, et cetera.”
He added that he considered her to be a “vulnerable person” due to her age and concerns with her mental wellbeing.
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.