The Netflix documentary Ice Cold: Murder, Coffee, and Jessica Wongso is based on a puzzling case of Jessica Wongso, who was accused of killing her best friend, Mirna Salihin. This documentary makes a close observation of Jessica’s character and personality. Although the whole case seems to be nothing more than a setup, we see some strange elements in Jessica’s behavior, raising many questions about her. The Netflix documentary throws light on all these things that make us wonder if Jessica Wongso is really responsible for Mirna Salihin’s murder.
Why Was Jessica Arrested?
Born in Indonesia, Jessica and Mirna were two close friends who graduated from the same college in Sydney. However, Mirna returned to Indonesia and got married, while Jessica started working in Sydney, Australia. When Jessica Wongso came back to Indonesia and met her best friend Mirna, she didn’t have the slightest idea that she might not return to her workplace. One day, when Jessica and Mirna went to a cafe for Vietnamese coffee, a tragedy struck. Mirna, after having only one sip of coffee, fell to the ground, having severe convulsions. She finally lost her life, and an investigation had begun. It was found that her coffee was laced with cyanide, leading Jessica to be the prime suspect. Although an autopsy was never performed on Mirna, only by examining the abdominal fluid did the forensic experts reveal that only 0.2 mg of cyanide was found in her blood, causing her death.
Even some CCTV footage of the cafe was checked to see Jessica’s actions during the tragic event. As the investigators saw Jessica had arrived early in the cafe on that day and ordered a coffee for herself, they concluded that Jessica had laced the coffee with poison before her friend had even arrived. But Jessica made a mistake. As she placed her bag in front of the coffee glass, it seemed like she intentionally hid it to poison the coffee, which eventually claimed Mirna’s life. Jessica was arrested and charged with the murder of Mirna. However, the investigators relied only on the cyanide dosage found in Mirna’s body and never tried to investigate further to find out what Jessica’s motive could be behind killing Mirna.
Jessica Wongso had a troubling history of mental health issues. She had acted violently towards her colleagues in Australia and even got into an accident by driving under the influence of alcohol. She had also tried to kill herself many times, which were some of the troubling background details about Jessica we came to know from the documentary. But this kind of destructive behavior is seen in almost everyone, more or less, which never directly marks someone as homicidal. But the court and the prosecution never conveniently concluded the case because their main objective seemed to be putting Jessica behind bars by any means necessary. Even though Jessica’s defense lawyer, Otto Hasibuan, proved in court that only 0.2 mg of cyanide was not enough to kill someone, the court didn’t give permission for further investigation to find out the real cause of the death. It seemed like the entire system was against Jessica and focused solely on how to frame her as the culprit.
Even though Jessica Wongso didn’t look like a cold-blooded murderer, something was really off with her body language. Initially, when her friend fell to the ground with convulsions, a crowd gathered around her, but Jessica kept standing at a distance. Maybe she was as baffled as the entire crowd and couldn’t bring herself to think or do what was necessary at the time. But even after she was arrested and brought to court, she seemed very chilled and relaxed, as if the whole trial was some kind of a joke. She even smiled when she was chased by the media and laughed when she was speaking to the judge during her trial. Perhaps she was suffering from some serious mental issues or was in denial. Her emotionless attitude was repeatedly highlighted in the documentary, especially by Mirna’s father, Eddie Darmawan Salihin, who believed that Jessica was nothing more than a psychopath with some sort of grudge against her deceased friend, showing zero sympathy for the loss.
Jessica Wongso’s complicated relationships were also brought up. According to the reports, she had a history of exhibiting violent behavior towards her ex. It was speculated that Jessica was jealous of Mirna, as she might have had an affair with Mirna’s husband. However, Jessica denied all the claims, calling them baseless. Jessica might have a history of violence and alcoholism, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she could be the perpetrator of a murder. As the trial continued, Jessica’s facial expressions became a subject of discussion. The prosecution commented on the movements of her eyebrows, eyes, and lips to read her character, calling her an evil mastermind.
Finally, as the guilty verdict was declared and Jessica was given a 20-year prison sentence, she still didn’t cry in front of the public, maintaining her calm and composure. However, Otto Hasibuan told the producers of the documentary that Jessica did break into tears after leaving the courtroom. Probably, Jessica wasn’t comfortable showing her emotions to the public and preferred to become vulnerable where nobody could see her. She tried to talk to the documentary makers about her experience in the case, but Jessica never got a chance to speak. The police interrupted her interview with the makers, leading her to stop the interview in the middle.
Where Is Jessica Now?
Jessica Wongso is still serving her prison sentence. She tried several times to appeal for release in court, but each time the appeal was rejected. Now she writes diaries and records the tragic events that unfold in her life. Although at first she seemed very relaxed, now the scenario has changed. She is worried about being released from prison and regrets being let down in the eyes of the people of Indonesia. She is now missing some important periods of her life and losing her loved ones one after another, which is more hurtful to her than imprisonment. Even after watching the entire documentary, if we accept that Jessica was the real killer, it leaves us wondering about the real motive behind this murder. The case could’ve had a different outcome if a proper investigation had been done, but the corrupt law and justice system did not allow it, which resulted in Jessica today being exiled.