Exactly a year after a 79-year-old senior citizen was murdered at her Dadar residence, an 85-year-old woman who was living alone in a two-storey ancestral building in Hindu Colony in Dadar (East) was found dead in her apartment on Friday morning.
The Matunga police suspect that the deceased, Tabitha Francis Fonseca, a widow, was strangled to death on Thursday night, as the body was slightly decomposed and there were strangulation marks on her neck.
The police added that articles were missing from the house but they were yet to ascertain which items were specifically missing.
The incident came to light around 10am on Friday when Fonseca’s daughter, Ruth D’souza came to visit her mother after she failed to respond to phone calls.
When Fonseca did not answer the door, D’souza opened the door using an extra key and found her mother’s body lying in the hall.
Dilip Suryavanshi, assistant commissioner of police (Matunga division), said that Fonseca was the only tenant residing in the building called Fonsecas.
Fonseca’s relatives earlier resided in the same building but over the years some of them passed away while other shifted elsewhere.
Fonseca’s two married children also live separately — her son, who is yet to be identified, presently lives in the Far East and D’Souza lives in Kalina. The building has no watchman.
According to Matunga police, no maid was employed at Fonseca’s residence, as she preferred doing the household work herself.
The police are trying to determine the motive behind the suspected murder.
“We are investigating whether the deceased was involved in any property dispute as she was the only tenant residing in the building. We are also checking if the motive was robbery. We are unsure whether she was registered with the police,” said Suryavanshi.
Locals in the area said Fonseca was an active woman for her age. “Despite being financially well-off, she did not have a maid. We would often see her going to the local grocery store or the church alone,” said the shopkeeper of a nearby grocery store on condition of anonymity.
Another local who also requested anonymity said, “She was a helpful woman. Her daughter regularly kept in touch with her and would often ask her to come and stay with her, but Fonseca refused saying she preferred staying alone.”