Concrete-sandwiched body of woman found in drum near Vembanad

Woman’s year-old body found on the bank of Vembanad; police to probe the murder angle.

Kochi: A skeleton of a middle-aged woman suspected to be murdered at least 10 months back was found inside a plastic drum filled with concrete on both sides on the bank of Vembanad lake at Kumbalam on the city outskirts on Monday.

The cold-blooded murder, unheard before in the state, sent shock waves among local residents as another body, that of a male found in a sack dumped in backwaters near Nettoor, two kms from Kumbalam, was recovered only four months back.

On Monday morning, the Panangad police smashed open one side of the drum after local fishermen complained of foul smell emanating and oily substance leaking from the drum.

"The top portion of the drum was filled with concrete and bricks. We're shocked to find the skeleton when we smashed the concrete portion. The lower part was also filled with concrete and the body was sandwiched in between. The body had decomposed almost fully and only a few hairs remained," a senior police officer said.

"We recovered a silver waist chain, Rs 1600 - three Rs 500 note and a Rs 100 note, in cash and also torn cloth piece. As per preliminary assessment, it seems to be that of a woman in her thirties," he said.

According to local residents, the drum was lying on the river side of a vacant plot by the side of 'Santivanam' crematorium in Kumbalam for the last two months.

"The drum was first found lying in a marshy portion of the river eight months back. While dredging a portion of the river two months back, the workers shifted it to the land using JCB. When they broke  open small portion, they saw concrete and left it there," said Rahul, a local resident.

A forensic team, including an expert from the Kalamassery Medical College, reached the site by noon and collected the evidence. The skeleton was sent to Kalamassery Medical College for further forensic test and autopsy.

"As part of the probe, we'll first take out a list of missing persons. It might be a case of murder and probe is progressing on the line. We'll also probe whether it has any relation with the recovery of another body in a sack four months before," the police said.

Besides the forensic team, senior police officers including commissioner M. P. Dinesh inspected the skeleton and the site.

The probe in the Nettoor body recovery case had reached a dead-end with the cops even failing to identify the male body.

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