A domestic dispute took a horrific turn in Tadipatri town in Anantapur district on Tuesday when a man bludgeoned to death his wife and two daughters over a disagreement he had with them over financial issues.
As the cops launched a manhunt for him, Ramasubba Reddy consumed poisoned and died on Wednesday morning.
Earlier this week, Reddy, who was over 50 years old, invited his three daughters - Prasanna, Pratibha and Pratyusha - to their home in Tadipatri's Krishnapuram for a festival.
Prasanna, the eldest, has been pursuing a Masters degree, Pratibha was in her third year of BTech, and Pratyusha had just completed Class 12 and was to join a college. All three lived in Tirupati.
While Pratibha and Pratyusha went home for the festival celebrations, Prasanna could not make it.
In the early hours of Tuesday, police said, Reddy used an iron hammer to bludgeon his wife and two daughters to death.
"He was under a lot of debt, and was facing financial difficulties. He wanted to sell some property that was in his wife's name, and had asked her to transfer it to his name. He bore a grudge against her as she refused to transfer the property," Tadipatri Inspector N Bhaskar Reddy said.
"He was most likely sober when it happened. We suspect that he was mentally disturbed as all the three daughters also supported their mother in the domestic dispute. We also learnt that he had attacked his wife once in the past, but it was not brought to the notice of the police. He may have been waiting for another opportunity," the inspector added.
After the murder, Reddy absconded and the police launched a manhunt for him.
By then Prasanna, who had escaped her father's murderous rage, had reached her home town after getting to know of the incident.
On Wednesday morning, she received a call from an "anonymous" person who told her that her father's body was found lying on the railway tracks in the outskirts of the town.
The police suspect Reddy himself had made the call pretending to be someone else.
"He called his daughter at 4am in the morning in an anonymous voice, and he said that his father had collapsed on the railway tracks in one particular area outside the town. We went there and searched for him across 1km on the track, but did not find a body," inspector N Bhaskar Reddy said.
The cops were finally able to nab him around 6 am and found that he had consumed pesticide.
Reddy was rushed to Anantapur government hospital in a critical state where he died a few hours later.
A case has been registered with the Tadipatri Rural police under Section 174 of CrPC. Meanwhile, the Tadipatri town police has also registered a case under sections 302 and 201 of IPC for murder, and trying to clear evidence.