Kerala girl found dead in river: Missing father nabbed in Karnataka after four weeks

It was on March 22 that Kochi native Durga (name changed) was found dead in a river in Ernakulam district, while her father was reported missing.
Silhouette of a man against an orange sky
Silhouette of a man against an orange sky
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Nearly a month after 11-year-old girl Durga* was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a river in Kerala’s Kochi, the police finally tracked down her father, who had been missing since the incident. The man, Rajesh*, was found in Karwar in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district. The local police in Karwar nabbed him on Sunday early morning after receiving information from the Kerala police.

It was on March 22 that Durga was found dead in Muttar River, which is about nine kilometres away from her family’s apartment in Kangarapady under the Thrikkakara police station limit in Ernakulam district. According to the police, Durga and her father were reported missing by the family on March 21 night. As per the family, the duo went missing after they dropped off Durga’s mother at her relative’s house in Alappuzha on March 20.

According to the Karwar police in Karnataka, the man was found on a beach in the region. As per the officials, Kerala police had shared the information about the man’s location with the Karwar police. Officials of the Kerala police are on their way to Kerala with Druga’s father. 

Kochi police, under whose jurisdiction Durga’s death took place, have not reacted to the latest development. According to reports, Kochi City Police Commissioner will hold a press meet on Monday. The police team which is bringing him back to Kochi will either arrive by Sunday night or Monday morning. As of now, there is no information on whether Rajesh has any involvement in Durga’s death.

The police relied on CCTV footage of a hotel in Karnataka’s Mookambika to trace Rajesh to Karwar. According to the owner of the hotel, Rajesh arrived on April 10 and stayed there for six days. The hotel owner also reportedly stated that Rajesh fled the hotel on April 16 without paying the bills. It was on the night after he left the hotel that they realised that Rajesh was a missing person from Kerala, the hotel owner told Asianet News. The hotel owner alerted the police, following which the police issued a lookout notice and found him in Karwar.

Initially, the police had suspected that Rajesh, too, had drowned in the river. However, his car was spotted in the CCTV visuals near Walayar-Coimbatore interstate border.

The case became murkier after police found bloodstains from the house where Durga and the family resided. However, the post-mortem report has stated that there are no signs of sexual assault on the girl’s body. 

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