Child abduction case: How Tom & Jerry cartoons helped police identify suspects

Padmakumar (left); the blue car which became decisive in finding the culprits; Anupama (right). Photo: Manorama Online

Thiruvananthapuram: Even though the police had nabbed the accused in the sensational child abduction case in Kollam with the aid of CCTV visuals and mobile phone tracking, there was a crucial role for the popular Tom and Jerry cartoons in the investigation.

The child had told the police that she was shown a cartoon by her abductors and investigators collected data in this regard. However, the accused were traced before the data was analysed. A senior officer in the Cyber Cell said that the cyber data had helped the police to confirm the identity of the suspects.

The child was abducted from Oyur in Kollam district around 4.30 pm on November 27 and she was reportedly shown Tom and Jerry cartoons at night, when she cried. Based on this statement of the child, the police asked the Cyber Cell to collect all IP addresses where Tom and Jerry was watched between 7.30 pm on November 27 to 6.30 am the next day. Subsequently, 26,000 IP addresses were received from around the country, of which 350 belonged to Kerala. In the state, 120 IPs were in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts.

This data was sought only on November 30 and it was provided by the Cyber Cell on December 1 to Karunagappally police. But, police officers had received some vital clues on November 30 itself and they travelled to Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu on the morning of December 1 from where the three suspects were nabbed. At that time, the analysis of the cyber data was not started.

Initially, the suspects did not confess to their crime and the Circle Inspector of Karunagappally asked the Cyber Cell to match the IP address of the laptop carried by the suspects with the data collected by the police. When a match was found, the suspects were taken to the police camp in Adoor.

Police officers said that the vital clue that led to the abductors was the CCTV footage of the blue car in which they travelled to Tenkasi. But, if this clue had not been received, the accused would have been certainly traced with the IP address data a day later.

A police officer said that they searched for Tom and Jerry cartoons on YouTube and showed three or four of them to the child, who identified one particular cartoon. The URL of this cartoon was sent to the Cyber Cell. Help was sought from Google to trace the IP address, but it was not received, said the officer. Finally, the data was collected from the Internet gateway, he added.

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