This could provide good fodder for crime fiction writers but it’s certainly an unnerving thought for city residents.

Several cases of mysterious deaths, most notably, a few murders for gain, some dating back to 2006, remain unsolved.

In many of these cases, the police have achieved a near breakthrough. But the lack of clinching evidence, that final jigsaw piece, prevents closure of the file.

Double murder

Probably the most taxing one for the police would be the murder of Jacob (65) and Moni Jacob (56) whose decomposed bodies, gagged and with hands and legs bound, were found inside their Velachery residence in November 2006.

After four rounds of investigation by different police teams including the Central Crime Branch (CCB), the case is now under probe by the newly-formed homicide investigation team of the CCB.

“It is an unusual case in terms of the modus operandi. After tying up the limbs of the victims and gagging them to cause suffocation, the murderer left the LPG cylinder in the kitchen open. He also kept another one in the couple’s room to ensure an explosion in the event of someone breaking open the door to rescue the couple,” said a police officer who probed the case initially.

The killer also tampered with an electric switch in order to create a spark and removed the fuse before leaving in the couple’s car. He also stole the hard drive from a computer in the house, he said.

Septuagenarian sisters’ killing

On May 2011, Jayalakshmi (75) and her sister Kamakshi (72) were found dead in their home in West Mambalam. They, too, were bound and gagged and some gold jewellery on their person, stolen. “The elderly sisters had been in poor health and the younger one was confined to a wheelchair. The killers brutally attacked one sister in the chest and strangled the other,” said an investigating officer.

The case achieved a near-breakthrough when some juvenile suspects who are drug addicts were detained by the police team. “But we are yet to recover the stolen valuables. Lack of convincing evidence is hampering our investigation,” a police officer said.

The case is one of four unsolved murders for gain that took place in 2011.

Another prominent case is that of a 38-year-old housewife who was found dead in her apartment in Nesapakkam with her throat slit. Police teams questioned several suspects and had narrowed in on a software professional. However, a few months later, he allegedly committed suicide by leaping in front of an express train in Korukkupet.

Murders this year

Most cases in 2012, including the killing of a 67-year-old domestic help in Thiruvanmiyur in September, that of a teenaged salesperson in a pawn shop in Madippakam in October were solved by the police within s short period of time. However, the police if yet to find a breakthrough in the murders of a 32-year-old nurse at her house in Kodungaiyur in July, and that of a 60-year-old man in Velachery, in October.

In the former case, the police initially suspected her husband and questioned him. “But we were not entirely convinced of his involvement. The murder took place in the afternoon and there were clear signs of a struggle. A portion of her gold chain was missing but other valuables in the room were untouched,” said an investigating officer.

‘Time-consuming task’

Investigations into murders for gain cases were ‘painstaking and time consuming,’ an officer said. “Our objective is to apprehend the right suspect and not wrap up the case in a hurry. Investigation may take months or even years based on the nature of the case,” he said.

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