His family had even performed last rites in October

A man presumed dead by his family and friends appeared on Wednesday only to disappear a few hours later. After knowing that his family had identified a decomposed body to be that of his and even performed the last rites in October, a visibly irked M. Durai (55) went missing again, police sources said.

Durai, a fisherman of Karikattukuppam near Muttukadu, was missing since early October. A decomposed body was washed shore at Muttukadu on October 12. Durai's son Haridas (22) told the police that it was his father's body. Durai's wife Rani and two daughters also identified some identification marks on the body.

After taking a complaint from Haridas, the Neelankarai police conducted post-mortem and handed over the body to the family, the sources said.

“The death was caused due to drowning. Since Durai was a fisherman and his family also identified the body, we registered a case under Section 174 (unnatural death) of Cr.PC and handed over the body,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (Thoraipakkam) K.N. Murali.

The family performed last rites and cremated the body. “It was a hair-raising sight for residents of the fishing hamlet when they saw Durai walking home on Wednesday. A little later, he was reported missing. We are sending his photographs to police stations in and around Chennai,” Mr. Murali said.

The police are now trying to investigate the identity of the man whose body was found.

Meanwhile, Inspector of Police G.K. Venkat Kumar said the Neelankarai police had five unidentified bodies that were washed ashore.

“A couple of days ago we cremated four highly decomposed and unidentified bodies,” he said.