Mystery surrounds the disappearance as well as reappearance of Muhammed Afran, a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, at Anchal in Kollam district a couple of days ago. In fact, there was no trace of the child for 13 hours, even though the police, Fire and Rescue personnel and the local people had conducted a massive search in the area around his house. Then, at 7 am on Sunday, the youngster was found unharmed by a rubber tapper a mere 750 m from his house. Afran was subsequently admitted to the paediatric ICU of a hospital. However, five facts remain unexplained over the entire incident.
How did Afran reach the place where he was found?
On Saturday evening, Afran’s mother went to a neighbouring house with the elder child, leaving Afran home with his grandmother. According to the statement given to the police, sometime later, Afran’s mother heard him crying and rushed to their house and noticed that the boy was missing.
“Afran was familiar with the place where he was later found. Moreover, he was a hyperactive child,” said a police officer.
However, local people point out that the plot where Afran was found was an elevated place and it was impossible for him to climb to that area by himself.
Why no injury marks on his body?
The police have sent the clothes that Afran was wearing when he was found by the rubber tapping worker for detailed examination. Incidentally, there were no scratch or injury marks on his body, which would certainly have been present if Afran had made his way up to the elevated plot on his own. Any struggle to take the child by force also would have led to injuries or torn clothes. Moreover, even though there was heavy rain in the area on Saturday night, Afran was not fully wet when found on Sunday morning.
Why wasn’t Afran afraid?
Curiously, when the search had taken place in the plot where Afran was later found, nobody had heard a child’s cries. Local people doubt why he didn’t cry even while being alone at a lonely rubber plantation the entire night. This strengthens the suspicion that Afran was at some other place at night and was brought to the rubber plantation in the morning. Sunil, the tapper who found the boy among the rubber trees, also said that Afran was not crying when he saw the child.
Why didn’t anybody notice the boy?
Every nook and cranny where the child could have strayed into was combed by the police, Fire and Rescue personnel and local people. Even the wells and pits in the area were checked. There was a disused well on the plot where was Afran was later located and it too had been inspected the previous night.
How did he go missing?
According to Afran’s mother, she had returned to their house after hearing his cries and found that he was missing. The door of the house had been open and the child’s grandmother – who was the only other person present in the house – had no idea what had happened to Afran.
The mother and grandmother immediately launched a search and also alerted others.
Local people wonder why the child had initially cried, if he was walking away all by himself. “Afran went missing around 6 pm and there was still good sunlight at that time. The rubber plantation where Afran was later found was a 15-minute-walk away from his house. If he had walked by himself, somebody would have noticed,” said a local man.
Meanwhile, a police officer said, “We will unravel all mysteries behind the incident.”
Incidentally, a young girl named Devananda had gone missing also in Kollam district in similar circumstances two years ago. Her body was soon located near her house.