A photograph of a smiling 22-year-old youth sits on a table in a two-room Bandra apartment. A woman sobs quietly as she lights two candles besides the frame. Ask her how her son died and she breaks down.
Avy, the eldest son of Cyril and Anthony Fernandes, had gone to Goa and Karnataka’s Gokarn beach to usher in the New Year, but returned in a coffin. His inconsolable parents suspect that he died of a drug overdose mixed into his drink without his knowledge. The Gokarn police, though, are still to ascertain the newly-employed call centre employee’s cause of death.
According to Avy’s friends, Conel Agivar and Aron Fernandes, after spending New Year’s Eve on Goa’s Anjuna beach, they went to Gokarn beach on January 3 to celebrate the Russian new year.
This was on the insistence of Alexandra Plemyannikova, a Kazakh girl Avy had befriended on social networking site Facebook and whom he met for the first time in Goa.
“On January 8,” said Conel, “We gathered in a shack for breakfast. Avy ordered pancakes and two beers. After breakfast, Alexandra said she was tired and Avy went to drop her to her shack. He returned only an hour and a half later, upset about something. He didn’t say anything, however, and fell asleep while listening to music.”
At 5 pm, Aron got a call from a friend in Mumbai asking to borrow some money. As they tried to wake Avy, he started frothing at the mouth.
Aron said he tried to give Avy mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but it didn’t help. They boys rushed him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Avy was born to me after 10 years of marriage,” said Cyril, tears rolling down her face. “Now we have lost him forever.”
Anthony, an event manager, maintained that his son was drugged. “Nobody dies after drinking two bottles of beer. We are sure that something was mixed in his drink. The Gokarn police should question all the people present there, including Alexandra, who has disappeared,” he said. Police Sub-Inspector Raghavendra S, of the Gokarn police, said the police were still clueless about Avy’s death. He said post-mortem reports were awaited and some body samples had been sent to Bangalore for forensic analysis.