A two-year-old boy who went missing from outside his house in Atthoram in Thousand Lights on Tuesday morning was found dead in the nearby Cooum river on Wednesday afternoon.
The police said it was a case of accidental drowning.
The victim Jeeva, the second child of couple Raji and Rejina, was playing outside their one-room house in the Atthoram area known as Makkees Garden, around 8 a.m. on Tuesday when he went missing.
The boy’s parents along with residents of the locality had staged a road roko on Tuesday evening claiming the Thousand Lights police had not taken adequate steps to find the boy.
Around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jeeva’s body, clad in the black shirt that he was last seen in, was found floating in the Cooum river a few metres from his house. “I was taking a bath on the river bank when I spotted the blotted head of a child. I walked into the water and brought the body up to find it was a small child’s. The police was called in and the body was soon identified as Jeeva’s,” said Satish, a resident of Atthoram where there are over 500 homes including huts and concrete houses located near the banks of the Cooum river.
Speaking to The Hindu, Jeeva’s father Raji, a construction worker, said, “On Tuesday morning, Rejina ran to fetch drinking water from the Metrowater lorry that had just arrived in the area. I was getting ready for work while my daughter Gayathri was eating breakfast in the house.”
He added that he and his wife had searched for Jeeva in the locality and when they couldn’t find him, approached the Thousand Lights police.
Investigators have ruled out any possibilitiy of kidnap and murder. The police said the boy might have accidently walked into the river and drowned.
“Some one in the locality raised the suspicion that a construction worker who was engaged in road-laying work nearby was seen carrying the child away. The man was picked up by the police and was questioned. He seems to be innocent,” said an investigating officer.
Jeeva’s body was taken to Government Royapettah Hospital for post-mortem and is expected to be handed over to his parents on Thursday morning.