The person who made a "mysterious" 45-minute call to the MH370 captain after the doomed flight disappeared turned out to be his cousin.
Zulhaimi Bin Wahidin, an aircraft engineer, told The Australian that he had been close with Zaharie all of his life and that Zaharie was "like a brother" to him. He last called the pilot on 2 February 2014, a month before the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Zulhaimi also made three attempts to call the MH370 pilot in the morning of the disappearance on 9 March, because he didn't believe that his cousin's flight was missing.
The 53-year-old said Malaysian police suspected him of providing some technical information to the captain on how to hijack the plane, and he went through three or four interviews.
"I was at police headquarters for three days. It spanned from morning to evening," he recalled. "I told them that Zaharie is a smart guy. He doesn't need me to get all of the information."
In his words, police let him go after they looked through the phone history and found out that the relatives had been talking to each other a lot over the phone during the past 10 years.
Zulhaimi dismissed the suicide-by-pilot theory, saying that his cousin had no reason to take his life.
"They're trying to blame him for what happened and it's very hard for me to swallow that because he's not that kind of a person," he said.
"He was a jovial person. He had a lot of money. He was enjoying his life. Why would he kill himself for no reason? He had a good family and a good life. Successful children. I don't think people are crazy (enough) to kill themselves for nothing."
The fateful flight with 239 people on board vanished from radars over the South China Sea on 8 March 2014. An analysis of satellite data has revealed that MH370 continued to fly for over six hours after losing contact with air traffic control.
An official investigation led by the Malaysian government found that the plane made a turn to the left and flew back across Malaysia toward the southeastern Indian Ocean. Given that the plane last made satellite contact in this part of the ocean near Australia, two fruitless search operations have been carried out in the following years, which have yielded no results.