Liga Skromane's family dismisses suicide theory

Liga Skromane's family dismisses suicide theory

Ilze Skromane (R) and Andrew Jordan after their media interaction at the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club on Monday/DH Photo

Two days after the decomposed, headless body of a woman – suspected to be of Liga Skromane, a missing Latvia national diagnosed with post-traumatic depression – was recovered near Kovalam here, her family has alleged police inaction on the complaint regarding her disappearance.

Liga’s younger sister Ilze Skromane told reporters at the Press Club here on Monday that she would wait for results of the autopsy and DNA test before confirming the identity of the deceased but dismissed reports that the woman could have committed suicide by consuming poison.

Liga, a 33-year-old Latvia national residing in Ireland, had checked into an Ayurvedic healing centre in Pothencode here, with Ilze, in February. On the morning of March 14, she hired an auto-rickshaw to the beach town of Kovalam, about 30 km away.

Ilze said her pleas for a concerted search operation were not “taken seriously” and a “smiling” police official told her that her sister would return in 24 hours. “I was trying to tell them that Liga had severe depression and was vulnerable and somebody could have taken advantage of her,” Ilze said. Reports quoted police sources as suspecting a suicide.

Ilze and Liga’s husband Andrew Jordan, who joined Ilze in a search in different parts of the state, maintained that they were not engaging in a blame-game but it was important to learn lessons from the experience. It is reported that the body, found in Vazhamuttom near Kovalam on Friday, is more than a month old. “The Special Investigation Team was formed on the 10th day since my sister went missing; which means by then, she was already not with us,” Ilze said.

Aswathy Jwala, a social activist who helped Ilze and Andrew in their search, was more critical about how the case was handled. She said no government representative came forward to offer help and police responded aggressively when failures in the probe were pointed out. Attempts to meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did not succeed either.

'SHE WAS NOT ALONE': Ilze identified the clothes worn by the deceased woman as Liga’s but said a jumper found on the body was not her sister’s. Ilze and Andrew contended that Liga couldn’t have gone alone to the location where the body was found and said the position in which it was found – hung over a tree – did not suggest poisoning. Andrew said the local police initially discounted all possibilities of anyone harming a European. “The first 24 hours were crucial. We need not point fingers but have to look at the system and ask if we are doing the right thing,” Ilze said.

Ilze said Liga had earlier attempted suicide twice when suffering from extreme insomnia but she was on a path to recovery in India. “She was sleeping better, praying and was taking walks. She came here to get better,” Ilze said.


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