Kerala teen who went missing two years ago found in TN with infant

The teen girl, who went missing in 2019 from Palakkad, is now a 16-year-old.
Woman representational image
Woman representational image
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Two years after a teen girl went missing from Kerala’s Palakkad district, police found her on June 18 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The teen, who is 16 now, is a mother to a four-month-old infant, and was living with a 22-year-old man who has not yet been found, as per the police. When she went missing in 2019 as a 14-year-old, police say that the couple had allegedly eloped.

The teen is a native of Kozhinjampara in Palakkad, bordering Tamil Nadu. Following the complaint of the parents, the Kozhinjampara police had filed a missing persons’ case. Though a probe was done to find her, she could not be traced then, say police officials.

Speaking to TNM, John C, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) of Palakkad district, Crime Branch, said that the teen was found following a tip off that she was in Madurai. According to the police, she was found at the house of a Madurai man who earlier used to work together with the girl’s mother, before she went missing. “His other relatives live near his house and she was being referred to as his wife. We are not sure if they (relatives) were aware of her age. She is now the mother of a four-month-old baby,” said the DySp. 

Both the girl and the baby have been brought back to Kerala. However, the man is absconding, police said. “He used to work with her mother earlier, doing catering in Palakkad. We are not sure if the family was aware that they were living together, more details have to be sought,” said the official.

A case will be registered against the man under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and a search is on to find him as well. It should be noted that one of the criticisms of the POCSO Act is does not recognise that children have a sexuality too, and criminalises consensual sexual relations between teens as well. However, in this case, the man is six years older than the girl, which could possibly mean that there was grooming involved. Grooming is a process where a person with a sexual interest in a child gains the child’s trust with the intent to sexually abuse them.

Police officials also stated that DNA samples will be collected from the baby and the teen girl for further legal proceedings.

Incidentally, recently in Palakkad district, a 28-year-old who went missing from her home 10 years back, was found to be living with her partner in his house all this while – apparently, without the knowledge of his parents. The incident had baffled many as Sajitha managed to live in a room for a decade without the knowledge of others in her partner Rahman’s house.

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