Kerala

Catholic priest found dead in well

A 55-year-old Catholic priest, who went missing from Ayarkunnam on Sunday, was found dead inside a well near his parish here on Monday.

The deceased was identified as George Ettuparayil, a native of Edathuva in Alappuzha. He was the vicar of St.Thomas Church at Punnathura near here. The priest, who had been staying at a house adjacent to the parish, reportedly went missing on Sunday afternoon.

The body was spotted in the well on Monday morning during a search operation carried out by the police and Fire and Rescue Services personnel. Several members of the parish and priests from the Changanassery Archdiocese were present. The body was shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital, Kottayam, for postmortem examination.

Fr. George had taken charge of the parish in February this year after returning from abroad.

Initial probe

Preliminary investigations suggested that the deceased had been under immense mental pressure over a fire accident at a storeroom near the parish about three weeks ago. As many as four persons had sustained severe burns in the accident.

The police recovered the cellphone used by the deceased, which was in silent mode. The CCTV cameras on the church premises were switched off.

Cause of death

R. Sreekumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, said investigations so far pointed to the death as a wilful act by the priest. “A preliminary medical examination confirmed drowning as the cause of death. Statements collected from parish members and priests suggested that he had been suffering from severe depression following the burns sustained by the parish members,” the official said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 9:05:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/catholic-priest-found-dead-in-well/article31893570.ece

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