Bodies exhumed to probe mysterious death of relatives

Photo for representation.

The suspicious deaths of six family members in Kozhikode, North Kerala between 2002 to 2016, has led the police exhumed the bodies for further examination on Friday.

All of the deaths occurred in a similar fashion, with the deceased collapsing after consuming food. Five of the cases were considered natural deaths with cyanide detected only in one case. Even then, the death was considered to be a case of suicide, until fresh suspicions were triggered following attempts by some relatives to inherit the wealth of the deceased.

Annama, a retired school teacher hailing from Kodathayi in rural Kozhikode, died in 2002 at the age of 57. Six years later, in 2008, her husband Tom Thomas (66) died. In 2011, their son Roy Thomas (40), died.

Annama's brother Mathew (68), died in 2014. Afterwards, their relative Sily and her two-year-old daughter Alphonsa died.

Except in the case of Roy, all the other cases were considered as natural deaths occurring due to heart failure. In the case of Roy, an autopsy revealed the presence of Cyanide but was considered suicide.

Roy's brother Rojo, who is working abroad, became suspicious about the deaths after some relatives attempted to possess the family's wealth using forged documents. Based on a petition he filed, the police launched a probe and found some suspicious elements.

The bodies, which were buried at two churches in the district, were exhumed on Friday and specimens were collected for scientific examination to determine the cause of death.

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