The CCTV visuals show a woman, suspected to be Jesna, walking past a shop in Mundakkayam.

Turning point in missing Kerala student Jesnas case SIT retrieves new CCTV visuals
news Jesna missing case Wednesday, July 04, 2018 - 16:02

More than 100 days since 19-year-old Kerala student Jesna Maria James went missing, the police believe they have made a crucial breakthrough in the case.

Jesna had gone missing on March 22 when she was on her way from her house in Vechoochira in Pathanamthitta district to her aunt’s house near Mundakkayam in the neighbouring Kottayam district. While CCTV visuals showed Jesna boarding a bus from Erumeli to Mundakkayam and also showed her traveling in the bus, the police could not verify what happened to the BCom student after she boarded the bus.

On Wednesday, however, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) retrieved CCTV footage from a shop in Mundakkayam, which showed a woman resembling Jesna walking past the shop at around 11.45 am on March 22. While sources in the SIT say that they are yet to confirm whether the woman seen in the footage is Jesna, the team believes that if it is indeed her then it would be a turning point in the case.

The CCTV footage was retrieved with the help of high-tech cell, after it was lost initially due to lightening.

The SIT had earlier taken statements from Jesna’s neighbours, who had said that she had left home wearing a salwar kameez and had a bag in her hand. However, the woman seen in the CCTV footage in Mundakkayam is wearing jeans and has more than one bag in hand.

“The woman in the video is seen walking past the shop with 2 bags in her hand. From that, it definitely looks like the woman was going on a long journey. She is seen carrying one bag in her hand and another on her shoulder,” a police officer told TNM.

Malayalam television channels also reported that a male classmate of Jesna’s, who was earlier questioned by the police, was also seen walking past the shop about 6 minutes after Jesna had passed by.

Earlier, the police had confirmed that Jesna had made several calls to this friend and her last text message to him before she disappeared was that she was going to die. However, police say that since the two are not seen together in the CCTV footage, there is no reason to suspect the man.

“He lives nearby, and he has already told us that he was in Mundakkayam on the day Jesna disappeared. So there’s nothing suspicious about it,” the officer said.

While the officer said that Jesna’s family was yet to confirm if the woman seen in the footage is Jesna, Mathrubhumi reported that her family had identified the woman in the video to be Jesna. However, TNM was not able to independently verify this information. 

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