It was over two weeks ago that the relatives of 11-year-old *Durga, a resident of Kerala’s Ernakulam district, saw her and her father, Rajesh*, for the last time. The duo had gone to Alappuzha to drop her mother off at their relative’s house and returned home the same day. Two days later, on March 22, Durga was found dead in a river. Her father has been missing since then. The Kochi police investigating the case are still grappling with the mystery behind the girl’s death.
It was on the night of March 21 that the officials of Thrikkakara police station in Ernakulam received a missing person complaint from one of the relatives of the family, stating that Rajesh and Durga were missing. The relative filed the complaint after Durga’s mother, who was in Alappuzha at the time, could not get in touch with her daughter and husband. However, by the next morning, Durga’s body was found in the Muttar river, about nine kilometres from their apartment complex at Kangarapady in Ernakulam’s Kalamassery.
According to the police, the postmortem report states that Durga died due to drowning and that there are no signs of sexual assault. Though the whereabouts of 42-year-old Rajesh continue to remain unknown, police have made some findings, which only has added to the mystery of the case.
“Though the apartment’s CCTV cameras were not working, a witness told us that they allegedly saw Rajesh carrying Durga on his shoulders and leaving the flat on the night of March 20. On inspecting the apartment, we also found a few blood stains on the floor. Samples have been sent for testing,” an official of Thrikkakara police station told TNM. The visceral samples of the child have also been sent for forensic examination for further examination.
Though certain reports state that Rajesh had financial constraints, the police said that he never spoke about the same to his family. “His wife said he does not disclose much at home. There had also been no past instances of domestic abuse or related incidents either,” the officer stated.
Meanwhile, the police have also expanded their investigation outside Kerala after CCTV visuals near Walayar check-post picked up Rajesh’s car passing through the area. “Investigation is still going on, there have been no further updates. We are waiting for the forensic results,” said the officer.
(*Names changed to protect identity)