Wife of retired government official was alone at home, gold jewellery missing from her person

A 64-year-old woman, wife of a retired public sector employee, was found dead in their house on Masilamani Road, Royapettah, on Monday afternoon.

Vimala Santhanam was alone at home when the murder took place. Her husband R. Santhanam (72) had gone to the airport in the morning to drop off a friend.

The unidentified intruder slit Vimala’s throat and is also suspected to have stolen her earrings and neck chain.

Speaking to The Hindu outside their 2 floor flat in SPL Lakshmi Sadan apartment complex in Royapettah, Santhanam, a retired public relations officer of Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India, said he reached home around 3.30 p.m. and entered the flat using a spare key.

“Vimala was lying face down in a pool of blood in the drawing room. I raised an alarm and alerted my neighbours. I think her thali chain and earrings are missing. But I’m not too sure,” he said.

Santhanam left the house around 10 a.m. on Monday to drop off his friend and former colleague at Chennai Airport. After that, he went to his sister Visalam’s house in Triplicane for lunch before coming home and finding Vimala dead.

According to the police, there were no signs of a break-in but signs of struggle in the room where the body was found. The investigation team also found shoe prints, suspected to be of the killer’s, in the room.

The retired government official and his wife had been living in the apartment complex since 2005. There are a total of 12 flats in the complex and the residents are mostly senior citizens. A watchman, Lakshman, a Nepali national, appointed four months ago, guards the two large gates of the apartment complex.

The police suspect the killer entered the complex through the gate on the right when Lakshman was on watch at the other side. “I cannot think of any murder motive. Neither do we have any enemies nor do we keep any cash or gold in the house,” said a visibly shaken Santhanam.

The couple has three daughters — one resides in Adambakkam while the other two live abroad.

The body was sent for post-mortem to Government Royapettah Hospital. The police have registered a case and special teams are probing the murder.

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