A 36-year-old mentally challenged woman and her eight-year-old daughter were charred to death at their house on Pallava Street, Subaham Nagar in Pallavaram, on Saturday. The woman’s second daughter is battling for her life at the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMC).
Police suspect the woman, I. Sournalatha, doused herself and the children with kerosene and set them all on fire to commit suicide.
Police said Sournalatha, who has been mentally challenged since birth, had been living with her family in Pallavaram for nearly five years. She had been taking medication for her illness, but over the past few days, she had been restless and worried about her health and the future of her daughters.
On Saturday, her husband, Inbaraj (40), left for work as usual. Around 11.15 a.m., Sournalatha’s brother arrived for a visit and saw smoke billowing out of the house. He raised an alarm and broke open the front door.
Doctors at the Government Taluk Hospital in Chromepet, where the three were rushed, declared Sournalatha and Durgadevi, dead. Later, her second daughter, three-year-old Srimathi, was shifted to KMC where she is said to be in critical condition.
“A few days ago, she bought some kerosene that had been stored in a plastic can. On Saturday, we found the can empty,” a police officer said. Police are investigating.