Koodathayi serial murders: Remains to be sent abroad for DNA tests; DGP Behera says probe is challenging

Koodathayi serial murders: Remains to be sent to the US for DNA test
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The Kerala Police have decided to conduct the Mitochondrial DNA analysis of the mortal remains of the six people, suspected to have poisoned to death in Koodthayi in Kerala's Kozhikode district, abroad if it cannot be done in laboratories in India.

"Extraction of DNA is a difficult process, especially on older remains. The first death in Koodathayi happened 17 years ago,” said State Police Chief Loknath Behra in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

“We will check if laboratories in India are equipped to conduct the extraction on older remains. If it is not possible, we will send the samples abroad," he said.

Six members of a family died between 2002 and 2016 after they were allegedly fed cyanide-laced food. Jolly Joseph is the prime suspect in the case. Police said she had killed her husband Roy, his parents, and three others in an attempt to get hold of the property.

The serial murders caught public attention after the police began re-investigation into the case last Friday.

Behra said the investigation is quite challenging because of the absence of eye-witnesses and lack of evidences. "We have to overcome those challenges," he said.

Koodathayi serial murders: Remains to be sent to the US for DNA test
Forensic team at work. Photo: Manorama

Investigation

Kozhikode Rural Superintendent of Police KG Simon said police will demand 15-day custody of prime accused Jolly for detailed questioning

"The Crime Branch has prepared a list of persons to be interrogated," Simon told Manorama News on Tuesday.

The Crime Branch has already summoned Rojo (brother of Jolly's first husband Roy) for questioning. Rojo, who is based in the US, was the first one to cry foul over the six deaths.

Koodathayi serial murders: Remains to be sent to the US for DNA test
Shaju Skaria, Jolly Joseph. Photo: Manorama

'Jolly trying to frame me'

Shaju, Jolly's second husband, said Jolly was attempting to frame him in the serial murders. "Sily's (Shaju's wife believed to have died due to poisoning) brother insisted me to marry Jolly. Jolly too put pressure on me for marriage, but I told them to wait for a year," he said.

On the allegations that Jolly underwent medical termination of pregnancy, Shaju said he was unaware of it. "We went together to meet gynaecologist three times. I did not go to the doctor's room," he said.

Since Monday, a photo of Shaju giving the last kiss to his wife Sily, along with Jolly, has been circulating widely on social media.

Asked about it, Shaju said it was Jolly's ploy to offer the last kiss with him. "By giving the last kiss with me, she prepared the ground for our marriage. It was an act of disrespect," he said.

Koodathayi serial murders: Remains to be sent to the US for DNA test
Renji, sister-in-law of prime accused Jolly Joseph, addressing the media.

Why relatives complained to police?

Renji Thomas, sister of Jolly's first husband Roy, said she became suspicious about Jolly's activities after she staked claim for the family property using forged documents. "Following this, I examined Roy's post-mortem report and I could find a lot of inconsistencies in the report and what Jolly said that day. So my brother and I decided to complain to the police," she told Manorama News.

Renji said her suspicion grew further after watching Jolly in the five other deaths. "Jolly used to inform others about the deaths and she took the lead to take the deceased to hospital. We have counted these things before complaining to the police," she said.

She felt that the case was unravelled because of 'hand of God'.

"I used to consider Jolly as my elder sister. She was friendly with all all in the family,” she said.

Renji said even for her father, Jolly was the model daughter-in-law who took care of him after her mother's death. “Everyone had only good things to tell about her,” she said.

Renji claimed that she escaped Jolly's murder attempt. She said Jolly had given her an ayurvedic tonic and she felt sick after drinking it. “I drank a lot of water and felt better,” she recounted.

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