He kills wife in Thiruvananthapuram, disposes of body in Tamil Nadu & phone on train

A WhatsApp confession reportedly blew the lid off a murder that was initially reported as a missing person complaint to the Kerala police in September.

On Tuesday, the police arrested Premkumar, a hotel manager, and Sunitha, a nurse, for the murder of Premkumar’s wife Vidya, who was reported missing by her husband from Kochi on September 23.

Romantic obsession

Infidelity, romantic obsession and the desperation to remove Vidya from their lives had prompted the accused to strangle her at a rented house in Thiruvananthapuram and dispose of her body at remote Manur in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, according to the police.

The accused also took a cue from a successful whodunnit movie Drishyam to sidetrack the police investigation. They mimicked protagonist Mohanlal’s actions by hiding Vidya’s mobile phone on a long-distance train to indicate that she had gone off on her own volition.

The police detained Premkumar at an orphanage here when he arrived to say goodbye to his 13-year-old son whom he had admitted there recently.

‘The suspects, who were schoolmates, had become romantically engaged after renewing their friendship at a recent class reunion. They arrived with Vidya at the house in Peyyad here on September 20. They allegedly strangled Vidya on her bed with a rope early next day, hid the body in the trunk of their car, drove to Tamil Nadu and abandoned the corpse.

Missing complaint

Vidya’s disappearance came to light when Premkumar filed a missing person complaint on September 23. He moved for anticipatory bail after a mobile phone metadata analysis revealed the accused and Vidya at the same location in the run-up to her disappearance.

Sensed danger

Officials said Premkumar sensed the law was closing in on him. He fell out with Sunitha, who blamed him for the situation. Beleaugured, Premkumar indicated on WhatsApp to an investigator that he wanted to confess to the murder.

The police have not ruled out the involvement of a third person in the conspiracy, possibly a schoolmate of the accused.

They produced the accused before a magistrate in Kochi and remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Thrikkakara, R. Vishwanath and Circle Inspector, Udayamperoor, K. Balan probed the case.

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