Girl found dead at her house at Vettinadu

The Rural police have sketched a facial composite, a graphic recreation of an eyewitness's recollection of a face, of the man suspected to be responsible for the murder of 15-year-old girl, Arya, at her house at Vettinadu in Vattappara on Wednesday.

Senior civil police officer A.R. Ajith made the sketch after talking to two school students who had seen the suspect in front of the victim's house the same day.

Circle Inspector Venjaramoodu K.R. Biju said the students had seen the man, who was driving an autorickshaw, in front of Arya's house around 2 p.m. He asked the students, one a girl, to help him push the vehicle to get it started. At around 5.45 p.m. the same day, Arya's mother, Jayakumari, who works as a store keeper in a nearby medical shop, returned home to find her daughter dead.

Arya seemed to have been strangulated with a towel. Her father, a manual labourer, was away at a construction site. Her sister, Athira, is a resident nursing student. The police said Arya was alone at home, possibly preparing for her academic year-end public examinations, as there was no school that day. Investigators said that Arya had died of a broken thyroid cartilage bone and ruptured lung. Her gold ornament, a necklace weighing around 1.5 sovereign, was stolen.

Mr. Ajith recreated the face of the suspect by first talking to the boy. He drew individual facial features, such as eyes, nose, eyebrows, hairline and so on, and overlaid the features to make a sketch of the criminal.

He then showed the image to the girl, who recognised it as that of the man she had seen outside Arya's house on the day of the murder.

Mr. Ajith added certain other features to the facial composite based on her memory of the possible murderer. The boy had asked the man to which stand his autorickshaw belonged. He told him the name of a relatively unknown locality, which only persons intimate with the neighbourhood would possibly know.

The police have circulated the image among their plainclothes squads to identify, locate and detain the accused. They said they would post the image in the public realm soon. Investigators questioned more than 40 suspects, verified their whereabouts and activities on the day of the crime and eliminated their involvement in the murder.

The Opposition raised the murder issue in the Assembly on Thursday. They said they were concerned about the safety of women and children in public places and in their domestic environs. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the police would give top priority to bring Arya's killer to book.