Kannur suicides: Eldest child was breathing when hanged to death, says autopsy report

Five members of a family were found dead at their house in Kannur. Photo: Manorama

Cherupuzha (Kannur): A day after five members of a family were found dead in their house at Padiyottuchal in Kannur’s Peringom grama panchayat, an autopsy report has revealed that the eldest child of the woman was hanged to death while he was still alive.

Mulapra Veettil Shaji (40), his wife Nakudiyil Sreeja (38), and her three children Suraj (12), Subin (8) and Surabhi (6) were found dead at their house in Padiyottuchal of Kannur's Peringom grama panchayat on Wednesday. The children were from Sreeja's first marriage to Sunil Kumar, who is also a daily wager.

Sreeja and her live-in partner Shaji reportedly committed suicide after murdering the three children out of her first marriage by giving them sleeping pills and hanging their bodies from the ceiling, police said based on preliminary findings.

The duo is suspected to have given sleeping pills in excess quantity to the three children first. However, the autopsy report revealed that the elder son Sooraj was still alive when he was hanged. The other two children, Sujin and Surabhi, had died soon after consuming the pills, the autopsy report said.

The incident

Investigating officers said Sreeja called Cherupuzha police station around 6.30 am and said they were going to end their lives. The officers reached her house around 6.45 am. "By then all the five were dead," he said. Cherupuzha police station is around 7km from the house at Vachal near Padiyottuchal.

Police found Suraj dead in the hall room, Subin and Surabhi were found by the staircase, and the couple was found dead in the bedroom. Police suspect the couple might have killed the children first and then ended their own lives.

Fallout of failed marriages

The tragic deaths could be a fallout of failed marriages and a dispute over the house, said a senior civil police officer at Cherupuzha police station.

Sunil, who works at a brick kiln, married Sreeja 12 years ago. Shaji was already married with two children when he met Sreeja, who worked as a home nurse and construction labourer eight months ago, police said.

On May 16 , Sreeja and Shaji got hitched and started living together in Sunil Kumar's two-bedroom house at Vachal. The new arrangement forced Sunil Kumar to leave his house. He filed a complaint against Sreeja and Shaji with Cherupuzha police and asked the officers to evict the couple from his house.

Cherupuzha police scheduled a reconciliatory meeting between Sreeja and Sunil Kumar at 10 am on Wednesday (May 24).

"We were expecting them at the station but Sreeja phoned us at 6.30 am," the officer said.

Suicide warning

“There was no issue between us till Shaji came along. Sreeja had come to the kiln along with our children in an auto on Monday. That was the last time I met them. She had told me that she and the children were going to die,” Sunil said.

“I told her that I would take care of the children and that she and Shaji could live anywhere in the world. I was ready to bear all the expenses for my children,” he added.

Sunil also said he had alerted his friends and police about the suicide threat of his wife.

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