Gender

Primary Suspect in Kerala Rape-Murder Case Taken into Custody

A file photo from a protest in India following the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi. Credit: REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder.

A file photo from a protest in India following the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi. Credit: Reuters/Krishnendu Halder.

On April 28, a 23-year-old Dalit law student was found murdered in her Perumbavoor home, with wounds and bite-marks on her body that a post-mortem revealed to be the result of rape. She had been mutilated, stabbed by a sharp object, and investigations showed signs of smothering and strangulation. In the days following the attack, three suspects – two of them neighbours of the victim– were taken in for questioning, but no arrests were made – until now. Almost 50 days after the crime took place, sources say the Kerala police have identified and taken into custody the prime suspect.

According to India Today, the discovery of footwear at the crime scene, and questioning of locals and migrant workers gave the police the breakthrough they needed. Before this, they had been working with a sketch of the suspect, created based on eye-witness accounts.

A Manorama Online report claims that the police caught the suspect, who has allegedly provided a confession, at the Thrissur-Ernakulam border.

He is currently being interrogated by the police, and law enforcement is waiting on some test results before they make an arrest, reports NDTV. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the suspect had been on the police’s radar for a while.

This is a welcome development in an investigation that has been riddled with delays and missteps, which led to the replacement of the chief investigating officer in the case. According to DNA India, it took six days after the crime took place for the scene to be cordoned off, and police were lax in investigating the case, only jumping into action on May 2 after widespread outrage on social media. NDTV confirmed that experts in charge of collecting forensic evidence were called in late.