The autopsy report of the Latvian woman, whose decomposed body was found last week after she went missing from Kovalam in Kerala last month, suggests that she was strangulated to death, informed sources said on Saturday.
The Kerala Police investigation team, who were handed over the report earlier in the day, said the autopsy reiterated the police findings that she had been strangulated to death.
It was on Friday that the Kerala Police for the first time said that according to their findings, manual strangulation was the cause of death. They have also recovered a noose made of vines, which is now a crucial piece of evidence for them.
Earlier, a DNA test of the highly decomposed body had confirmed that it was of 33-year-old Liga Skromene. The body was also identified by her sister Ilzie and her live-in partner Andrew.
The police, according to informed sources, have taken into custody five men from the Kovalam area who are believed to have befriended Liga. With the scientific report also available with the police, they expect to crack the case in a day or two.
In a related development, the police have begun a probe against Ashwathy Jwala, a known social activist who was all along with Ilzie and Andrew when the two were running from pillar to post to get help from the state authorities.
Jwala was trying to help the two meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, but despite several attempts she failed to manage an appointment. Also, after their first meeting with state police chief Loknath Behera, she expressed dissatisfaction over the way they were treated.
As Jwala went public with his comments, state Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran slammed her for spreading "half-truths" to the media.
According to a complaint made to the state police chief, Jwala collected funds in the name of Liga.
However, Jwala denied the charges, and said she was ready to face any kind of probe.
"I have been into public work for the past five years and this is first instance of a complaint against me. I will deal with this legally. But I am definitely pained over the baseless allegations...," said Jwala.
Ilzie also defended Jwala, saying the charges were false.
Liga, her partner Andrew and her sister Ilzie came to Kerala for ayurvedic treatment at a facility on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.
She went missing on March 14 and was last reported to have taken an auto-rickshaw to Kovalam. She was not carrying her passport or mobile phone with her.