The body of a 40-year old woman was found in a decomposed state inside a sump in her house in Injambakkam on Sunday evening.

It is not yet known if she was murdered. The police are investigating.

The victim, Shaila (40), lived with her husband, Mani (48), a building contractor, and their three daughters in a three-storey building in Cholamandala Devi Nagar in Injambakkam.

Mani frequently travelled on work. On Thursday, he left for Andhra Pradesh.

On Friday morning, when one of the children woke up to go to school, she found her mother missing and alerted her sisters.

“Shaila usually woke up at 5 a.m. and drew ‘kolams’ outside their house. The girls thought she was outside doing that. But there was no sign of her even after a prolonged period. The house keys and Shaila’s cellphone were found on the ground floor. A pet dog they had brought home ten days ago was also missing,” said a police officer attached to the Neelankarai police station. Unable to locate their mother, the girls lodged a complaint with the police.

On Sunday, a foul smell began emanating from the sump inside the house. “Initially, residents thought there was a dead animal inside the sump, the lid of which was found half open. Upon close examination, they found Shaila’s decomposed body inside,” said the officer.

The police have registered a case under section 174 (suspicious death). “We can ascertain the exact cause of death only after the post-mortem,” said the police officer.