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Last Updated Saturday July 29 2017 12:28 AM IST

Mishel hinted at suicide when Cronin phoned her the day she went missing

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Death of Mishel Shaji Varghese

Kochi: In a new twist to the ongoing investigation into the mysterious death of Mishel Shaji Varghese, it was revealed that she had hinted at suicide in a telephonic conversation with Cronin Alexander Baby, who has been booked for abetment to suicide, the day she went missing.

“You will get to know that on Monday,” the 18-year-old CA student in Kochi, whose body was found near the Ernakulam wharf on Monday, reportedly told Cronin on Sunday.

The new revelation further deepened the mystery surrounding her death as the call data records revealed that she was planning to end her life on Monday. However, as per the evidence collected by the investigating team, Mishel killed herself by jumping off the Goshree bridge around 7.45 p. m. on Sunday. The police believe that there could be an incident of sudden provocation that could have driven her to take the extreme step.

She was looking tensed, presumably after seeing somebody, in two clips from the CCTV footage retrieved by the police from two different areas. In one of the visuals captured on a CCTV camera in front of the St Antony's Shrine in Kaloor, Mishel was seen suddenly turning around and walking back. The CCTV footage from near the Goshree bridge have visuals of her walking briskly towards the bridge as if she was being chased by somebody.

The police are trying to find answers to these two questions: Had Cronin sent some of his friends to pacify Mishel after the phone call on Sunday. If Mishel had planned her suicide well in advance, why did she choose a crowded place?

Crime Branch groping in the dark

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch, which took over the investigation after the local police established it as a case of suicide, is also groping in the dark to ascertain the exact reason that contributed to the death.

As Mishel’s mobile phone is yet to be recovered, the Crime Branch officials hope that they may receive some vital clues from Cronin’s cellphone, which has been sent for forensic examination, to unravel the mystery surrounding her death. Cronin had reportedly told his interrogators that he had erased several messages and photos sent by Mishel after he learnt about her death.

The Crime Branch team also examined the CCTV footage and other evidence collected by the local police, and said prima facie the incident appears to be a suicide. The mental harassment by Cronin could be the reason for her taking the extreme step, officials said.

However, the victim’s friend, in her statement given to the police, said that Mishel sounded calm and undisturbed when she phoned her on Sunday. Suicide was the last thing on her mind even when Cronin beat her up following an argument some months ago, she told the police.

The Crime Branch team is probing to see whether Mishel was hiding some secrets from her close companion. Officials believe that something that caused severe mental trauma to her might have happened on the day she went missing. The police will check if any foul play was involved or whether Cronin threatened to blackmail her. They will also analyze the telephonic conversation between Mishel and Cronin’s mother just hours before her death.

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