Koodathayi mass murders: Probe closes in on more relatives, government officials

A special team from the rural police inspected deceased Roy Thomas’ house on Sunday to collect scientific evidences in connection with his death.

Police exhuming bodies of the family members who died under mysterious circumstance, from their graves at Koodathayi

More persons, including relatives and government officials, are under the scanner as the police intensified the investigation into the multiple murder case at Koodathayi near Thamarassery.

The probe team, which had arrested three people including mastermind Jollyamma Joseph on Saturday, however, has not taken anyone else into custody.

District Crime Branch DySP K Haridas, who is heading the investigation, said his team has been working to collect scientific evidence and statements of witnesses to prove the crime was committed by the arrested accused. Further arrests will be made only after getting concrete evidence, he said

Prime accused Jollyamma Joseph alias Jolly, 47, and co-accused M S Mathew alias Shaji, 44, and Praji Kumar P, 48, were sent to Kozhikode jail on Saturday.

“The three accused are now in judicial custody in Kozhikode jail. The police will move the court soon to get them into custody for detailed interrogation. The reports of forensic tests of the mortal remains of the victims exhumed from the grave is also awaited,” he said.

A special team from the rural police inspected deceased Roy Thomas’ house on Sunday to collect scientific evidences in connection with his death.

Investigation revealed that Jolly served cyanide-laced with food to the victims. The first reported killing was executed in 2002 by Jolly wherein the victim was identified as her mother-in-law, Anamma Thomas.

Six years later in 2008, Jolly allegedly killed her father-in-law Tom Thomas. In 2011, it was the turn of Jolly’s then-husband Roy Thomas.

The killing spree continued at regular intervals in the residence of the Thomas family. The next victim in the queue was Roy Thomas’ maternal uncle Mathew who died under similar circumstances in 2014. Two years later, another close relative Sily, the wife of Shaju(Jolly’s paramour), and her one-year-old child died under similar circumstances.

A police investigation into the serial killings confirmed that all the victims died soon after consuming food.

Besides, Jolly’s presence in all the six deaths was a striking feature, pointing towards her involvement in the killings.

With no concrete clues, the investigation into the killings could have been buried in the police files as blind murders. However, Roy Thomas’ brother Rojo, who lives abroad, approached the Superintendent of Police and expressed his suspicion over the mysterious serial deaths. In fact, Rojo was next in line to be eliminated by Jolly. However, as Rojo lived abroad, he and his family members remained out of the reach of the killers.

Once convinced with Rojo’s revelations on the mystery deaths of his family members, the police exhumed the mortal remains of the deceased persons from their graves and sent them for forensic examination. The initial reports indicated to poisoning.

Sources said that during her long interrogation, Jolly finally confessed to the police that potassium cyanide, arranged by her friend Mathew, was used to kill all the victims. As far as the motive is concerned, Jolly wanted to marry her former husband’s cousin Shaju and they both eyed the property of the Thomas family.

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