Russian teenager's death continues to be a mystery

Elena Sukhnova. AFP

Elena, a charter tourist from Moscow, went missing on the night of May 7. A day later, a mangled body found along the railway tracks near Tivim station was identified as the missing teen based on the contents of a purse found close by. The face, however, was crushed beyond recognition.

Though there were many loopholes to the theory, the Goa police treated the case as an accidental death assuming the student had fallen off a train. There was no trace of a train ticket and no one saw her at the station or on the trains that stopped there.

Following up on the request from the Russian embassy that the case be treated as a homicide, Elena’s brother-in-law Dmitry Voronov who is in Goa said the family had a strong suspicion that she had been murdered.

The Russian teenager knew very little English but was often seen with a local man who ran a shack in Anjuna and a group of Indian tourists, said Vikram Varma, legal representative of the Russian consulate. Elena was to have flown back to Moscow on May 3, but postponed her return by a week. Between May 3 and May 6, the teenager disappeared from her three-star hotel and was later traced to a dingy, and shady guest-house in Anjuna, says Varma. “Her drinks could have been easily spiked,” he believes.

Elena took a taxi from Baga after dining out with a group of Russian tourists on the night of May 7. That was the last time she was seen alive. Six months into investigations, DNA samples sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad, have yet to confirm the mangled remains as hers.

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