Kerala

Latvian tourist’s death a clear case of homicide: Forensic expert

Sister of the Latvian victim witnesses the mortal remains of her murdered sibling being consigned to flames at Santhi Kavadam in Thiruvananthapuram. File

Sister of the Latvian victim witnesses the mortal remains of her murdered sibling being consigned to flames at Santhi Kavadam in Thiruvananthapuram. File | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

The death of the Latvian woman near Kovalam four years ago is a clear case of homicide, according to forensic expert K. Sasikala, who led the post-mortem examination.

The former principal of the Alappuzha Medical College was deposing before the Thiruvananthapuram Additional District and Sessions Court–I during the trial into the alleged rape and murder of the tourist on Friday.

During her testimony, which has seemingly bolstered the prosecution case, Dr. Sasikala also ruled out the possibility of suicide. She said the death was caused due to three injuries that was observed at the neck of the deceased that could have occurred “when blunt impact was forcefully applied to neck”. Fractures to the cricoid cartilage, thyroid cartilage, and hyoid bone had led to her death, she pointed out.

Lacerations on the inner thigh and leg suggested the possibility of an attempted, forceful abduction of the legs, the expert testified.

She also offered her views on the presence of diatoms in the sternum of the body. According to her, the microorganism could be found in the bone marrow or sternum due to consumption of water, forceful administration of water or drowning. In the particular case, the possibility of drowning could be excluded since the main three injuries had caused death, Dr. Sasikala claimed.

Her deposition practically discredited the observations of the then assistant chemical examiner P. G. Asok Kumar, who testified two days ago that the possibility of drowning could not be ruled out and that diatoms could not be detected if the person had consumed water. She should have either drowned or was force-fed water, he claimed.

Dr. Sasikala also said it was highly difficult to detect semen in highly putrefied bodies. In the absence of traces of spermatozoa, the prosecution theory of rape would rest on circumstantial evidence.

The body was suspected to have been found between 45 and 60 days after the death had taken place. The occurrence of liquefactive necrosis (a condition that leads to the transformation of the tissue into a liquid viscous mass) is believed to have separated the head from the rest of the body, the prosecution maintained.


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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 11:45:05 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/latvian-tourists-death-a-clear-case-of-homicide-forensic-expert/article65561943.ece