Cyanide Killings In Koodathai
While reporting extensively about the killer doctor Omana Edadan (45) in the mid-1990s, I could not imagine a more ghastly case in my journalistic career with an educated woman as the villain of the piece.
But the unfolding case of the cyanide killer Jolly of Koodathai near Kozhikode appears to surpass the Edadan case in the ruthless planning and execution. In the last reckoning, Mrs Jolly Shaju B Com (47) had allegedly murdered six persons, without shedding a drop of blood. Nemeses caught up with her on Oct.05,2019, after a relative of the victims had reported several suspicious deaths in the family over a period of 14 years. All died with the same symptoms of sudden sickness. The victims hitherto identified are her mother in law Annamma (2002), father in law Tom Thomas (2008), husband Roy (2011), Roy’s maternal uncle MM Mathew (2014), Tom Thomas’ nephew Shaju’s infant daughter Alfine (2015) & wife Sili Shaju in 2016.
Next year Jolly married Shaju, baby Alfine’s father and Sili’s husband.
All the victims have died with symptoms of cyanide poisoning. Nobody suspected any foul play in the serial deaths, till Roy’s brother, residing in the USA, had brought this unusual phenomenon to the notice of Kerala Police. Jolly was arrested with two of her accomplices.
Doctor Omana used her medical and surgical skills to kill her paramour with a poison injection, chopped off his limbs into small pieces, loaded them in to suitcases, and partially disposed them of in different places in Tamil Nadu. Thanks to an alert taxi driver in Kodaikanal, she was caught with the remaining parts of the body in the boot of her hired car. She was arrested on July 12, 1996. While being a remand prisoner, she obtained conditional bail in 2001, and vanished. She was declared a proclaimed offender in 2004. The Interpol had issued a red-corner notice soon after, as she was believed to be in Malaysia. The case was closed after a report that an elderly Indian woman had fallen to death from a high-rise building in Kuala Lumpur in 2017. Her relatives had identified her as Dr Omana from the pictures.
The modus operandi of the present Jolly killings is a big challenge to the investigators. Establishing cyanide as the killer agent needs a lot of supporting evidence. Otherwise, a clever defence lawyer can rip apart the case against Jolly.
By T Kannamala