TODAY   |  March 05, 2013

Parents believe spies killed son in Singapore

Mary and Rick Todd have traveled to Washington, D.C., convinced U.S. security is at risk after they say their son, Shane, was killed in Singapore by spies for China due to his high-tech work at a research firm. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>>> there are new questions this morning surrounding the death of a young american in singapore . did he take his own life or was he murdered? kelly o'donnell is here with that story. good morning to you.

>> good morning, savannah.

>>> this is a spy movie come to life with a story that could easily seem too hard to believe until you meet the parents of the young man at the center of this drama. the mysterious death of shane todd .

>> i have no doubt that he was murdered. murdered for what he knew and what he was unwilling to compromise.

>> reporter: todd 's family came to washington, convinced u.s. security is at risk. mary and rick todd say their son was a doctorate in electrical engineering warned them that his high-tech work at a singapore firm put him in danger from spies from china.

>> he said mom, i'm afraid i'm never going to see you again. i said you're going to see me again. you have your ticket. you're fine.

>> shane , from the beginning, said i feel i'm compromising u.s. security and he wouldn't do that.

>> reporter: his father says shane 's work involved materials that could be used for civilian projects, but also military radar and missile guidance systems. last june, shane was found dead, shortly before his planned return to the u.s. and a new job. singapore authorities told them shane committed suicide by hanging.

>> tell me how a 6'1" man could hang him on a standard-sized door. when we got there, they couldn't explain how he this had done it.

>> disputes the family's allegations stating in part, neither ime nor shane was involved in any classified research project . senator max baucus wants answers and says todd 's death could be linked to technology espionage.

>> i'm quite suspicious, basically because i'm not terribly surprised. i think a lot of this is going on and it's very dangerous.

>> reporter: the todds found information in their son's apartment that they want u.s. officials to investigated. a hard drive , they say, does make the link to the chinese. senator baucus is pressing this with the white house state department and today meets with the singapore ambassador to the u.s.

>> fascinating case. kelly o'donnell, thank you. tea with lemon, my friend.