Kottayam: The police are focusing on the stolen car in their investigation into the alleged murder of a 55-year-old housewife in a suspected robbery attempt in Kottayam on Monday.
Sheeba was found dead near the front door of her roadside house, Shaani Manzil, at Parappadath in Thazhathangadi on Monday morning. Her husband, Mohammad Salih, 60, was found lying unconscious near the body with assault wounds.
Their Wagon R car was stolen after the attack, the police said. Sheeba’s relatives said her gold ornaments are also missing.
The attacker fled in the car after the crime, the police said. They have found CCTV footage showing him driving to Vechoor via Kumarakom.
Manorama Online is in possession of the footage that shows him driving in Kumarakom about 10am. The police suspect the crime happened around 9am.
The police have also collected footages from the CCTVs of houses near the two-storeyed Shaani Manzil, which showed the car had only one person.
The police are also looking at mobile towers and call records as part of their investigations.
According to the post mortem report, Sheeba died of head injuries. There were injuries on either sides of her head.
Salih, who ran a tea shop at the Nagambadam bus stand, was admitted to the Kottayam Medical College, where he was operated upon on Monday night.
The police found broken chairs and a teapoy in the house. The couple were likely attacked with the teapoy, causing injuries to their heads, they said. The weapons used for the attack are yet to be found.
The police said the glass top of a table in the hall was also found broken and that it could hold clues about the attacker.
The couple stayed alone. The police suspect the attacker could be someone known to the them.
The attacker might have subdued them as soon as he entered the house, the police said. They suspect that Salih was attacked first. They found the hands of the couple tied together.
Both Sheeba and Salih had maintained good relationship with neighbours. They had no enemies, their relatives said.
Neighbours said they did not hear any unusual sounds on the day of the crime.
The police have increased vigilance at check posts and borders. They also conducted searches at the Kottayam and nearby railway stations.
The police are hoping for the recovery of Salih, who could provide details of the attacker.
While the crime is said to have happened about 9am, it came to light only in the evening about 3pm when a local resident, Farid Khan, came to ask Salih if the house behind Shaani Manzil was available for rent.
He said he found the gate open and the car parked in front of the house missing. He also smelt LPG coming from the house. He said he tried calling the couple on their phones, but they did not answer. He then decided to call the fire-fighting team, Khan said.
Meanwhile, the couple's daughter Shaani, who lives in Muscat, had called her relatives to inform them that her parents were not answering her calls. The relatives also reached the house in the evening, the police said.
A fire-fighting team arrived about 5pm and found Sheeba and Salih lying on the floor drenched in blood.