The Goa police found two empty cough syrup bottles in a room where Suchana Seth, Bengaluru-based startup CEO allegedly murdered her 4-year-old son. Police are now exploring the possibility that Suchana administered a heavy dosage of cough syrup to her child before allegedly smothering him.
The police discovered two empty bottles of cough syrup at the service apartment in Hotel Sol Banyan Grande in North Goa's Candolim, where Suchana had checked in on January 6. Suchana was arrested in Karnataka's Chitradurga district on January 8 while attempting to flee in a cab with her son's body concealed in a bag.
The complaint filed by the manager of the service apartment stated that Suchana had requested "two Benadryl cough syrup bottles" from the reception at 4 pm on January 7. Subsequently, the staff delivered two bottles of syrup to her room. Two bottles, one small and one large, have been recovered from the service apartment.
Reports also state that Suchana told the police that she hadn’t killed her son. According to The Hindu, Suchana provided inconsistent statements regarding the crime. A senior police officer said that Suchana denied killing the child but she avoided addressing inquiries about the circumstances of his demise. Suchana reportedly told the police that she believed the child was sleeping. It was only when she attempted to wake him for their journey to Bengaluru that she discovered her son dead.
Suchana had checked into a rented service apartment at Candolim in North Goa with her son on January 6. After a two-day stay, she left for Bengaluru in a taxi on Monday. When the cleaning staff went to clean the room they found red stains which they suspected was blood. The stains were discovered on a towel and the floor. According to the police, Suchana attributed the blood stains to her menstrual cycle. But the police suspect that the blood stains may be related to injuries on her wrist, indicating a suicide attempt.
According to Suchana’s LinkedIn page, she serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a Bengaluru-based start-up Mindful AI Lab and was recognised among the top ‘100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics for 2021’. Upon investigation, the police said Suchana's start-up didn’t have an office in Bengaluru.
During a police visit, Suchana’s former residence in Bengaluru's Thanisandra locality, where she resided with her son, was found abandoned. The neighbours said that she had left the residence around four months ago.
Dr Kumar Naik, a government doctor who conducted the post-mortem on Tuesday had said that the child was smothered to death. "The child was killed more than 36 hours earlier. He has been smothered or strangulated. There are no wounds or signs of struggle. There may be the use of a pillow or a wire." The police are now investigating the possibility that the child was sedated with a heavy dosage of cough syrup, as indicated by the autopsy report.
The final rites for the child took place in Bengaluru on Wednesday, January 10 after the post-mortem conducted in Chitradurga district's Hiriyur. The boy's father, Venkatraman PR, is expected to arrive in Goa over the weekend to record his statement. Suchana and Venkatraman, who married in 2010, had a son in 2019. The call recording on January 7 showed multiple conversations between Suchana and Venkatraman. The couple had been embroiled in legal tussles, including a domestic violence case filed by Suchana against her husband on August 8, 2022. This legal battle was part of divorce proceedings and a custody dispute over their son.