Ilze Skromane, younger sister of Latvian woman Liga who was killed in Thiruvananthapuram, talks about the two months that have changed her life.

Going home with her ashes How a vacation turned into a tragedy for 2 Latvian sisters
news Interview Wednesday, May 02, 2018 - 18:50

Latvian sisters Liga Skromane and Ilze Skromane came to Kerala in February, for a short vacation in God's own country. Thirty-three-year old Liga, a Public Relations professional, had also fixed appointments for herself at an Ayurvedic centre.

At the end of their trip, the sisters hoped to take back memories from an exciting vacation. But instead, a tragedy befell them. Ilze is set to return to Latvia in mid-May – alone, and carrying the ashes of her sister Liga.

Liga, who went missing on March 14, was found murdered two weeks ago.


On Thursday, Liga's body will be cremated in Thiruvananthapuram, and her ashes will reach her home in Latvia, where their parents are yet to come to terms with the tragedy.

"We decided that we want to cremate her body here. The investigation is still going on, our parents also understand this. Considering the circumstances and the state of the body, they also agreed that it is better to cremate her body here and take the ashes home. She has told her friends that she wanted her ashes buried in our garden. We haven't made the decision yet, I am still talking to my parents about it. We are not sure if that's what she wanted...we are still trying to make sense of it. It is an unusual circumstance. My family is Christian, so I am not sure what we will be doing," Ilze says.

Journey to Kerala

The two sisters traveled to many places in Kerala before they went to Dharma Ayurvedic Healing centre in Pothencode. The sisters were scheduled to make their trip back home on April 18. This was Ilze's second trip to Kerala and third to India – she has previously visited Kerala during her trip to India in 2013.

Liga (left), Ilze (right)

"Liga used to travel quite frequently, but this was her first time here," says Ilze, who runs a beauty salon in Ireland.

Weeks of uncertainty

After Liga went missing, Ilze sprung into action, reaching out to the police, people’s representatives and the general public. She pleaded for any leads that would take her to Liga. Through a Facebook page 'Missing in Kerala,' Ilze kept posting updates on Liga's missing case, patiently responding to those who wanted to help her.

Through the traumatic time of search, Ilze was hopeful that she would find her sister.

"I wasn't scared, I truly believed all through the ordeal that we were going to find her,” Ilze says.

But on April 20, Liga was found dead. Her decomposed body was found in a mangrove at Thiruvallam in Thiruvananthapuram – and her head was found a few metres away. The post mortem confirmed that she was strangled to death.

Liga and Ilze's childhood days in Latvia. Liga on the right 

While the investigation has not found her killers yet, for Ilze, finding Liga's body after nearly 40 days since she went missing, was a closure.

"I am thankful that we found her. It would have been worse if we hadn't. It would have been terrible if we did not know what happened to her and had to keep wondering for the rest of our lives. I don't know how I could ever have left India if I didn't know what had happened to her," she adds.

"I don't see it like I am going back without her. I cannot explain in words what I feel. It's like she will be with us forever. You can take away a body, but not a person. As far as I am concerned, I am going to meet her again, it is just a matter of time," Ilze says.

Asked whether Ilze will make another trip to Kerala, she says that she definitely will and adds, "I have made so many good friends here, so many good relationships. There are people who prayed for us, who were with me throughout. I am going to come back."

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