Malaysian investigators probing the murder of four people have stumbled upon bones that could belong to as many as 20 people.
The Malaysian Police have linked a fifth murder, that of an ethnic Indian woman, with those of four who were slashed and burnt last week at Banting in Selangor state.
Two lawyer brothers have been arrested over the murder of four people.
Examination of the muddy riverbed at and near a farmhouse where the murders are believed to have taken place has revealed bones that could belong to as many as 20 people, a forensic expert engaged in the investigation said Thursday.
The finding of the ashes of Sosilawati Lawiya, 47, who owned a cosmetic making firm, and three others, who were killed and burnt last week have led to the investigations being expanded to cover several people who are reported missing.
The fifth murder to be linked to the serial killings is that of T. Selvi, 46, an ethnic Indian housewife, whose throat was slashed in front of her house in April last year.
The Star newspaper said the incident occurred after she had a quarrel over a land deal that she partnered with the two lawyer brothers.
Selvi's husband 54-year-old P. Balasundram, a mechanic, had claimed earlier this week that the lawyers had cheated him in 2008 in a money-lending business they shared.
The lawyer brothers, whom the police have not named so far, are at the centre of the crimes at a private farm house they owned.
Media reports quoting police and official sources have drawn a pattern in which those killed or missing are supposed to have fallen foul of the lawyer brothers in their business deals.
Sosilawati, who arrived at the farmhouse with three people including her lawyer and banker, is also suspected to have been killed after a business deal fell through.
Those who claim to know the lawyer brothers say they are worth RM 200 million ($6.4 million), The Star said.
New Straits Times quoted Selangor state police chief Khalid Abu Bakar as saying: "It is vital for the family or next of kin to provide leads about the missing person to speed up investigations."
The killings have received wide attention at home and abroad.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's government has stressed that the investigations were not racially motivated and that the police were doing a professional job as per the law.