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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Kerala woman killed 6 of family with cyanide-laced food over 14 yrs : Cops

Arrests come a day after the mortal remains of the dead family members, allegedly killed between 2002 and 2016, were exhumed from their graves in north Kerala to confirm the police theory placing 47-year old Jolly Thomas, former wife of deceased Roy Thomas--who died mysteriously in 2011--at the centre of a case of suspected serial killings of members of one family.

south Updated: Oct 06, 2019 09:13 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
One Kerala woman was arrested with two others in a case of alleged killing of her family members with cyanide laced food
One Kerala woman was arrested with two others in a case of alleged killing of her family members with cyanide laced food(Getty Images/iStockphoto/representative)
         

Cases of mysterious deaths in a Kerala family, the first dating 17-year ago, may have been solved with the arrest of three people on Saturday, including of a woman from the same family, who is suspected of masterminding silent deaths for six of her kin with cyanide laced food over the years, said state police.

Arrests come a day after the mortal remains of the dead family members, allegedly killed between 2002 and 2016, were exhumed from their graves in north Kerala to confirm the police theory placing 47-year-old Jolly Thomas, former wife of deceased Roy Thomas--who died mysteriously in 2011--at the centre of a case of suspected serial killings of members of one family.

“We arrested Jolly Thomas, her friend M Mathew, who arranged potassium cyanide and a jewellery worker Praju Kumar, who supplied the poisonous substance,” said Kozhikkode Rural SP KG Simon. He said the arrests were made after obtaining enough evidence in the two-months-long investigations.

Jolly Thomas’s mother-in-law Anamma Thomas was the first to die in 2002 followed by her husband Tom Thomas in 2008. Jolly’s former husband Roy Thomas died in 2011 and Roy’s maternal uncle Mathew died in 2014. Two years later another relative Scily and her one-year-old child too died in mysterious circumstances.

All victims died after taking food and there were other eerie similarities adding to the mystery said police. Jolly Thomas’ presence during all six deaths was one of them. Police suspect Jolly’s extramarital affairs and greed for the family property to be the motive behind the spaced out “murders”.

The lid over the mysterious deaths may not have lifted ever had it not been for a complaint filed by late Tom Thomas’s other son, Roji Thomas who lives in the United States.

Police soon discovered Jolly’s second marriage to a man named Shaju Scaria who had lost his former wife and child in similar circumstances.

The police say, Jolly was faking to be a lecturer at the National Institute of Technology in Kozhikkode for the last 14-years when she was only a B.Com graduate. “We came across many mysteries like in a crime thriller,” said the SP.

While, all three have confessed, they have been arrested only for the 2016 “murders” of mother and son as forensic evidence was needed to corroborate their hand in previous “killings”, said police.

Among the six, autopsy had only been conducted on Roy’s body confirming poisonous substances in his stomach but the police had then closed the case as one of suicide. Roy’s uncle, Mathew died in a similar fashion three years later after he insisted for a post-mortem of Roy’s body.

“Once we get forensic details we will file detailed chargesheet,” said the SP. He also said more arrests were likely in coming days.

Jolly’s second husband Shaju Scaria and two others were detained earlier before being let off.

Kerala’s Director General of Police Loknath Behera has congratulated the investigation team.

First Published: Oct 05, 2019 20:41 IST

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