Kerala: Two Men Arrested For Alleged Sexual Assault, Murder Of Latvian Tourist Woman
On May 3, Kerala police arrested two youth in connection with the alleged sexual assault and murder of a 33-year-old Latvian tourist, whose severed body was found hanging upside down in a mangrove forest near Kovalam on April 21.
The two men, aged 24 and 28, have been arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). Both are drug peddlers and have been charged under IPC sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and 20b of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
As per reports, one of the accused is a repeat offender who in the past has sexually abused women and men in the same forest area where the body of the victim was found.
In a press conference, DGP Loknath Behera told the reporters, “It was a brutal homicide. The entire investigation was based on circumstantial evidence.” He added that they cracked the case based on scientific evidence.The accused made the whole appear like a suicide case. DGP Behera said, “I can tell that the accused thought that they can dispose the body off in such a way that people might think it was a case of suicide, but they were wrong.”
Body found weeks after the victim went missing
A massive search operation was launched to find the woman who went missing on March 14. The woman had come to Kerala with her sister to receive ayurvedic treatment for depression.
According to eyewitnesses, on March 14, the woman had walked out of the centre and then hired an auto rickshaw. The police traced the autorickshaw driver who said that he dropped her near Kovalam beach.
The search operations went on for weeks, and on April 21, her body was found in a decomposed state. It is reported that her head was lying separately from the body. The victim’s sister and partner identified the body from the clothes on it. However, they raised an alarm after realising that the overcoat on the body did not belong to the victim. DNA test confirmed that the body belonged to the Latvian woman. The post-mortem revealed that she had been strangled to death.
As per reports, further investigation revealed that the accused drugged her and took her to the forest area where they later sexually assaulted her before murdering her.
Thiruvananthapuram Range IG, Manoj Abraham, who led the special investigation team, said the police have both circumstantial and scientific evidence.
As per Deccan Chronicle, the woman’s sister, who was earlier upset with the way the investigation was being carried out, said, “Senior police officer Manoj Abraham has been in touch with me. I know they are doing their best to investigate and ensure justice. I am satisfied with what they are doing, and don’t want to delve into the past.”
The victim’s funeral was held on May 3 in Thiruvananthapuram. NDTV quoted her sister saying, “It will be a tribute to her life.”
She added, “My sister loved Kerala and received a lot of love and support. We don’t want to leave India with bad memories.”