Alex Shorey: Taiwan employer Elly Chen reveals more details about poisoning as police investigate reported attempted murder
The Taiwanese employer of Australian exchange student Alex Shorey says she offered for him to stay with her after he fell ill, but he instead chose to be with another woman who is reportedly under investigation for poisoning him.
According to unverified reports in Taiwanese media, a 45-year-old woman described as Shorey’s “girlfriend” is at the centre of an attempted murder investigation. 7NEWS has not been able to independently substantiate these reports.
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Elly Chen says she employed Shorey as an English teacher in her online education businesses in February.
Shorey, a 24-year-old Toowoomba native, was “happy, outgoing and friendly” and “parents and students love him a lot”, according to Chen.
“One month later, he was suffering in the ICU (intensive care unit),” Chen told 7NEWS.
Chen said Shorey first reported feeling sick in late March.
He had lost his appetite, was dizzy and had nose bleeds, she said.
“I came to his apartment and I saw blood everywhere. Blood on pillow and tissue. I said, ‘Alex I think you have to go to ER’,” Chen said.
The 42-year-old mother took Shorey to the hospital, where he treated for suspected food poisoning and released.
Chen dropped him home and stayed with him overnight to help him recover.
She offered to take Shorey to her house to take care of him, but he declined and said he would stay with a friend, she said.
Chen said she was in contact with Shorey by text but has not seen him since March 27.
Over the next couple of weeks, Shorey reported his health deteriorating to the point he couldn’t walk, she said.
In late April, it emerged Shorey was in a critical condition in Taipei Medical University Hospital, with a GoFundMe set up by his Queensland-based family to raise money for his medical evacuation to Brisbane.
Chen said Shorey had told her that doctors had determined he was poisoned with rat poison.
“He text me right me away (and said), ‘It’s rat poison. It’s superwarfarin’,” she said.
Chen said she is not being treated as a suspect.
She said police contacted her and have arranged to interview her on Thursday, given she was the first to take Shorey to hospital.
“They want to find me because I’m the first one to send him to hospital,” she said.
She said she never met Shorey’s female friend and did not see rat poison in his apartment while she was staying there.
According to unverified reports in Taiwan, the unidentified woman admitted to making drinks laced with rat poison.
However, she reportedly claimed she did so to take her own life — and Shorey consumed the laced drink by accident.
But “inconsistencies” in her accounts led investigators to “suspect that she was deliberately poisoning Shorey to prevent him from leaving Taiwan”, the English-language Taiwan News reported, citing Taiwan-based Chinese-language news outlet SETN.
7NEWS has reached out to Taipei prosecutors but has not received a response.
Shorey has been recovering in Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital after being flown by Medical Rescue Australia following a successful crowdfunding campaign.
– With Sowaibah Hanifie