The investigating team recorded the arrest of Umesh and Udayan on Thursday.

Latvian tourist found dead in Kerala was sexually assaulted Two arrestedScreengrab
news Crime Thursday, May 03, 2018 - 14:03

Ending weeks of speculation over the mysterious death of a 33-year-old Latvian woman in Thiruvananthapuram, the Kerala police on Thursday arrested two persons in the case.

Addressing a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram, DGP Loknath Behera said that the 33-year-old woman was sexually assaulted before she was killed.

The Special Investigating Team (SIT) arrested Udayan (24) and Umesh (28), for allegedly murdering and sexually assaulting the woman. Umesh, who is a local tourist guide, is the first accused in the case . Both the accused have been booked for murder, rape and under section 20 B of The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act.)

"It was a brutal homicide. The entire investigation was based on circumstantial evidence," DGP said, adding that they cracked the case based on scientific evidence.  

"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," the DGP said. 

According to IG Manoj Abraham, the accused gave drugs to the Latvian woman. The police said that solving of the case had become tough as evidence collection had become difficult, since her body was recovered after 30 days since her death. 

While the post-mortem report had confirmed that the woman was strangulated to death, the police team were also probing whether she was subjected to sexual assault before her death. 

The Latvian woman, who had come to Kerala in February with her sister Ilze, had gone missing on March 14 from the Dharma Ayurvedic Healing Centre in Pothencode. She was undergoing treatment for traumatic depression at the centre, while she was reported missing. According to eyewitnesses, the woman had walked out of the centre and hired an autorikshaw. The driver, who was later traced by the police, said that he had dropped her off near Kovalam beach. 

However, search operations by the police in and around Thiruvananthapuram and other tourist destinations in the state, did not yield result for weeks together. On April 21, her body was found in a decomposed state inside a mangrove forest near Kovalam beach. Her head was lying separate from the body. While Ilze and the victim's partner Andrew identified the body with the clothes on it, they raised alarm that she was wearing an overcoat that did not belong to her. 

A DNA test conducted later confirmed that the body belongs to the Latvian woman and post-mortem report revealed that she had been strangulated to death. 

The police had taken into custody, several people living in and around the area from where her body was found. Meanwhile, her  sister Ilze said that the body will be cremated on Thursday evening. 

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