In a horrific murder of sorts, a family of four- a retired college professor, his wife, daughter and a relative were found dead at their home in Trivandrum, Kerala on Sunday. The incident took place near Cliff House, the official residence of Kerala’s CM.
While three bodies were found in charred condition, the fourth one was found mutilated. The deceased were, Professor Raj Thankam, his wife Jean Padma — a retired medical superintendent of the General hospital here, their daughter Carol — a medical student, and aunt Lalitha.
The couple’s son, Cadell, 30, is the main suspect in the case. Cadell who works in Australia and Carol, a medical student in China had come down for their holidays. The neighbours had alerted the police on seeing thick smoke coming from their residence on Saturday. The bodies were discovered when the firefighters came in and doused the fire. It looked like the crime had been committed three to four days back as the bodies had already started to decompose.
Apparently Cadell had maintained that his parents were on a tour and wouldn’t be back for a week. In recent developments, Cadell who had been arrested Thampanoor railways station, confessed to the crime and justified it as an act of satanic worship. He further said that the killings were an attempt in separating the soul from the body. Though the real motive for the murder remains unknown, the police are currently forced to believe that it is the result of Satan worship Cadell had been following on the basis of a Chinese religion.
An axe with blood stains were found upstairs. Cadell had fled to Chennai and returned to Trivandrum on Monday when the police arrested him. The police also discovered a a half-burnt dummy made of clothes, iron rods and plastic from the house, to create an illusion that the entire family had died in a fire mishap, making this a meticulously planned murder. The police are currently seeking the help of a psychiatrist to further the case.
Cadell, an MBBS dropout, pursued engineering in Australia, but returned after failing to complete the course and then took to animation and was said to have developed a games search engine for an Australian firm.
Somnathan CP, a psychiatrist says, “There are three possibilities- one that the person suffers from a psychotic illness where his brain made him believe in delusional thoughts that the act needed to be carried out as a favour to Satan. Second, he could have been part of a cult or a group worshipping Satan, who easily influence those with a vulnerable mind, which also may have led him to commit the barbaric act. The third possibility is that he is a criminal genius- he has tried multiple options, but hasn’t stuck to one career path- which is a sign of ingenuity- and hence he is malingering or leading the police falsely and using satanic worship as a means for defence. Since the true motive behind the killings isn’t yet known, the statement cannot be taken on its face value yet.”
“There are only two ways to this- guilty or not guilty. The final result of course rests on the police’s investigation. The statement as of now could mean only one thing, that the accused is seeking advantage of being mentally challenged. It may or may not grant him some leniency, but won’t do the case any good on the whole,” says Advocate George Briston.
Dr M Kurian Thomas, a social researcher in ancient Christianity in Kerala, says, “When someone says things like he tried to separate the body from the soul, it can only be result of a diverted mind and its imaginations. It is too early to say anything as yet, because his true motive is unknown and no one would know the real workings of his mind. You could call him a genius of sorts to have come up with an explanation like this for his actions.”
Unless the real motive of the crime is known, it would be premature to comment on the state of mind of the accused. The only thing to do now, is wait for police investigations to unfold.