In a rarest of rare cases, the Crime Branch has begun exhuming the bodies of six members of a family who died in a similar fashion but under mysterious circumstances over a long period.
The exhuming began on Friday on the complaint of one of the family members suspecting foul play in the death of the six at Koodathai near Thamarasseri in Kozhikode district between 2002 and 2016.
The remains of a two-year-old child Alphonsa and her mother Sili, cremated at the St Mary's Forane Church cemetery at nearby Kodancherry, were taken out first, followed by those of the remaining four, cremated at Lourdes Matha church cemetery at Koodathai. The body remains would be inspected by forensic experts for any trace of poison.
Annamma, a retired teacher and wife of retired government employee Ponnamattam Tom Thomas, died in 2002. Her son Roy Thomas, brother Mathew Machadi, Tom Thomas' nephew's wife Sili, her two-year-old daughter Alphonsa died later over the years but under similar circumstances.
Another son of Tom Thomas residing in USA, Rojo Thomas, had filed a complaint demanding to probe the deaths. Annamma collapsed and died after having food and her death was recorded as a result of heart attack. Her husband died in 2008, followed by Mathew in 2014. Alphonsa died in 2016 and her mother Sili too died one after the other leaving few years of gap in between.
One of Tom Thomas’ son Rojo Thomas, now in the US, suspected foul play and lodged a complaint demanding to probe into these deaths. His argument was that they all died immediately after consuming food. Though Roy Thomas was said to have died of heart attack, autopsy had found traces of poison and the case was closed as one of suicide.
Following the complaint, police questioned some of the people in the vicinity and also some relatives and found serious contradictions. There was also an allegation of a fake will of Tom Thomas having been created and the property usurped.
Top police officials said further action would be taken up after getting the report of the forensic experts.