Nine Suspects Held After Latvian Tourist’s Body is Found in Kerala
Liga Skromane's body was found hanging from a tree near Kovalam beach.
A male sex worker and eight other suspects were taken into custody in connection with the death of Latvian tourist Liga Skromane, who had gone missing on March 14 in Kovalam, Kerala.
The headless, decomposed body of 33-year-old Skromane was found hanging upside down from a tree in a mangrove forest at Panathura near Kovalam on April 20, according to Mumbai Mirror. Preliminary reports suggested that she may have been sedated, gang-raped and then strangled to death.
Her identity was confirmed by DNA reports and her sister Ilze recognized the clothes she was wearing.
A boat was also identified by the police in which Skromane was brought to the secluded place at Panathura by the suspects, the New Indian Express reported. She was told to smoke some hallucinatory drugs by the culprits, the report quoted sources as saying. She was then sexually assaulted and strangled to death, it is suspected. Forensic experts have started examining the crime spot and checking the fingerprints on the boat.
City police commissioner P Prakash said that the confirmation of the sexual assault was yet to be made. “We have almost confirmed that Liga was murdered. So we have taken many persons in Kovalam area who have criminal records into custody for interrogation. But we can’t confirm that Liga was sexually abused, Hopefully, we will get a strong lead very soon,” Prakash said.
Skromane’s sister and husband had been searching for her since she went missing. Her husband, Andrew Jordan, went back to Ireland recently after spending two and a half weeks searching for her. Jordan, an Irishman, told the Irish media that “the police just assumed Liga was just another holidaymaker gone awry. It took us two weeks to get them to look for her.”
Skromane was diagnosed with post-traumatic depression last year and traveled to India with Ilze for Ayurvedic treatment on Feb. 3. She had been living in Ireland for five years.
Earlier, three local fishermen had said that they saw her walking through the seaside on March 14 before she disappeared from the Ayurveda healing center at Pothencode.
Ilze wrote on social media: “On April 19 I was praying and praying to God to grant me one birthday wish. Please let me know where my sister is, please let us find her, this not knowing is so hard to bear. On my birthday 20th of April afternoon two local boys found my sister’s remains. It’s been a long journey for my sister, and she has been through a lot of suffering.. may her soul rest in peace now in the hands of all loving God.”