Bhubaneswar police on Saturday retrieved 22 small boxes containing pieces of a body from the house of a retired Army doctor. He had allegedly cut his wife into pieces after murdering her a fortnight ago.

Police took 72-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Somanth Parida into custody on Friday night after the murder of his wife Ushashi Parida, 60, came to light.

On Saturday morning, the police, along with a forensic team and relatives of the deceased, reached the house of the accused at Nayapalli here. All boxes were kept in two big trunks, generally used for transportation by Army personnel.

Preliminary investigation suggested that Ushashi Parida was murdered on June 3 or June 4. Police had no clues to circumstances under which the murder had been committed.

“We found the flesh was stored in 22 boxes while long bones were kept in plastic packets in bathrooms. Flesh was smeared with chemicals for preserving. Forensic investigation would be done. DNA test, super imposition test and blood grouping would also be carried out as part of investigation,” Assistant Director of State Forensic Laboratory A. Baliarsingh said.

“We suspect that the incident happened in a fit of anger. Ever since their marriage in 1971, they had enjoyed a good relationship. We had never come across any ugly incident that suggested they had strained relationship. It was over 10 years since his retirement; the couple was leading a normal life,” said Ranjan Samal, brother of the deceased. Relatives said the retired doctor was short-tempered and one could not judge his moods.

Additional Commissioner of Police Santosh Bala said the investigation was in a preliminary stage and no definite reason could be attributed to the murder.

“The incident had probably taken place on June 3 or 4. The body pieces are in a highly decomposed state. We have also sent the pieces to forensic division of SCB Medical College Hospital for examination. The body was cut into very small pieces. So it is difficult to say how this murder was carried out,” said Ms. Bala.

She said the accused doctor told the investigators that he had not killed his wife, but the victim had committed suicide by banging her head against a stone.