Kerala Police Crime Branch solved the case of serial deaths in a Catholic family in Kozhikode district between 2002 and 2016.
As part of the probe, the police had opened family tombs on October 4 to examine the reasons behind the deaths of six persons from a family who died under mysterious circumstances.
Tragedy hit Ponnamattom family one after another over 14 years. Kerala Police detained the family’s daughter-in-law Joly, her second husband Shaju and another relative who supplied cyanide to carry out the murders.
“The accused made meticulous planning and charted the safe mode to conceal the murders. It was a challenging case, a police official told India Today.
When retired teacher Annamma Thomas (57) collapsed and died in 2002, the family treated it as a natural death. After six years, her husband Tom Thomas (66) died of heart failure.
In 2011, their son, Roy Thomas (40), died in a similar manner. The autopsy report revealed poisoning before death. In 2014, Annamma’s brother, Mathew Manjadiyil (67), died similarly.
All four were buried in the cemetery of Lourde Matha Chuch Koodathai under the Thamarssery eparchy of Syro-Malabar Church. In 2016, their relative’s daughter, Alphonsa (2), died of a heart attack and within months her mother, Sili (27), also died.
Meanwhile, Roy’s widow, Joly, married Sili’s widower Shaju and claimed ownership of the family property with the support of the Last will prepared by her father-in-law Tom.
Tom’s younger son Mojo, an NRI based in the US, challenged the transfer of ownership of family property and lodged complaints with the Crime Branch regarding the serial deaths.
Kerala is shocked by the murders carried out by a housewife in a reputed family who concealed it for 17 years.
“The accused made meticulous plans and charted a safe mode to conceal the murders. We have collected call detail records and are waiting for scientific evidences and exhumed the bodies of the deceased. It was a challenging case, a police official told INDIA TODAY.
The police interrogated Joly and Shaju eight times and found discrepancies in their statements.
The police investigation found that Joly was present in the locations when all six persons died. When the police asked Joly to undergo polygraph tests, she refused on health grounds.
While verifying call details, police found that Joly and Shaju were in constant touch during odd hours. When the dead bodies were exhumed, forensic experts found the presence of cyanide.
In 2018, Kerala police arrested a serial killer in CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s village. Twenty-eight-year-old Saumya killed her parents and two daughters when they challenged her immoral activities. Later she committed suicide in prison.