The Kerala Police have cracked the harrowing abduction case of a six-year-old child from Oyoor in Kollam district. Five days after the incident unfolded on November 27, law enforcement recorded the arrest of the alleged masterminds behind the crime, who are all members of the same family – engineer-turned-businessman K R Padmakumar (52), his wife M R Anitha Kumari (45), and their 20-year-old daughter P Anupama from Kollam’s Chathannoor. With this arrest on Saturday, December 2, the police believe they have all the key suspects in custody.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP, Law and Order), Ajith Kumar told the media that the accused had been planning the crime for a year. They were also in search of a child whom they could manage to abduct without too much hassle. The accused family lived in the same district as the child, just 8 kms away.
“They followed the said child who was kidnapped, and her eight-year-old brother for a few days and learned their routine. The children used to go for tuition. The accused attempted the abduction twice before November 27, but one time the mother had come to pick up the children, and the other time their grandmother was present. Therefore, both these attempts failed,” the ADGP said.
Padmakumar, who has a background in engineering, owns a bakery, and a farmhouse, and has dabbled in real estate. The ADGP said that Padmakumar, an engineering graduate and well-known person in the locality, faced financial crises post-COVID, accumulating significant debts. His wife Anitha Kumari was a homemaker and their daughter Anupama had a YouTube Channel with more than half a million subscribers. In her videos, she concentrated on giving commentaries on celebrity videos.
The family planned the crime well in advance, even creating a fake number plate during the last year. Another fake number plate was also made recently.
The ADGP said that the police had unnecessary pressure on them from the media, but still, they were able to keep investigating the case. “We formed various teams and delegated tasks, with the primary focus on recovering the child. The crucial clue obtained on the first day proved instrumental in solving the case, leading us to the perpetrator's connection with Kollam. Despite media pressure, we remained steadfast throughout the investigation, ultimately tracing and arresting them,” he said.
The girl and her eight-year-old brother who was with her while she was kidnapped, have identified the accused. The ADGP added that the abducted child’s brother who escaped the clutches of the kidnappers is a hero. “After Jonathan, the brother, the child herself is the next star. It was based on her description that the sketchers drew the portrait of the accused. It turned out exactly the same,” the ADGP said.
The arrest unfolded near Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu at around 1.30 pm on Friday, December 1, marking the end of a five-day hideout for the family. The suspects had abandoned the kidnapped child after the police intensified their search efforts. Following their apprehension, the family was brought to a police camp in Adoor, where their arrest was officially recorded after detailed questioning.
The child was dropped off at a ground in Kollam on November 28 by Anitha Kumari, Padmakumar’s wife. “The abductors gave a tablet to make the child sleep and, after leaving her in Ashram Maidan, observed from a distance until college students noticed her, before departing without their mobile phones,” the ADGP explained about how the kidnappers finally let the child go.
After two days of medical observation, the child was produced before a magistrate, where her statement was recorded. While the initial ransom demand by the kidnappers was Rs 5 lakh, it was later raised to Rs 10 lakh.