I don’t think she is alive, says father of Kerala student Jesna, missing for 6 years

Jesna’s father, James, said he would reveal more information regarding his missing daughter on April 19.
James Joseph and Jesna Maria James
James Joseph and Jesna Maria JamesScreengrab/Mathrubhumi News
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Six years after Kerala student Jesna Maria James’s disappearance, her father, James Joseph, said he believed his daughter was no longer alive. Speaking to the media on Saturday, April 13, he said, “If she had been alive, she would have contacted me. There was a lapse in the local police’s investigation in the first few days. Someone must have endangered her, right here in Mundakayam.” 

Jesna, the youngest of three girls and a second-year Bachelor’s student, went missing in 2018 after she left her home to visit her aunt. James filed a petition at the Thiruvananthapuram chief magistrate court accusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of not leading the investigation in the right direction. The CBI had filed a closure report in the case in January 2024 after failing to find any substantial leads in the case.

The 20-year-old college student from Erumeli in Pathanamthitta went missing on the morning of March 22, 2018, after leaving her house in Vechoochira, near Erumeli, to go to her aunt's place in Mundakayam, Kottayam. Her disappearance, which drew a lot of public attention, was investigated first by the Kerala police department, then the Crime Branch and finally the investigation was taken up by the CBI, but none of the departments could get any leads in the case.

James Joseph and Jesna Maria James
Four years on, no trace of missing Kerala student Jesna

As per reports, in his petition, James alleged that though he gave information about an unknown friend of Jesna, the CBI didn’t investigate it. He said he was ready to provide digital evidence, including a photo of the friend. James alleged that the CBI did not check the blood-stained cloth found in Jesna's house. Meanwhile, the lawyer who appeared for CBI informed the court that they had not found such cloth from Jesna’s house. 

The court directed the CBI investigation officer to appear before the court on April 19 to submit an explanation about the allegations. James said he would reveal more information regarding his missing daughter on April 19. “I have been constantly investigating this case and I have a team, including my friends. My team and I studied the investigation reports of every agency that has investigated the case so far,” he said. 

James added that some people were trying to politically exploit the case by alleging ‘love jihad,’ and clarified he didn’t believe in such allegations. ‘Love jihad’ refers to a bogus claim made by the Hindu right wing that Muslim men are ‘luring’ Hindu women into marriages to convert them to Islam.

In January, the CBI rejected the involvement of religious extremist groups behind the disappearance of Jesna and confirmed that she was not converted to any other religion.

Kerala police even took her father and a friend for brain mapping but ended up with no evidence.

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