Thiruvananthapuram: The lone suspect in the murder of four members of a family in Kerala’s capital last week is believed to have dabbled in occult practices.
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The bodies of retired professor Raja Thankam, 60, who had taught history at a college in neighbouring Tamil Nadu state, his wife Jean Padma, 58, who was a doctor, their daughter Caroline, 26 who studied medicine in China, and Lalitha, 70 a relative of the family were found on the upper floor of their two-storied residence in the state capital.
The couple’s son, Cadell Jeansen Raja, 30 had absconded when police reached the house around midnight on Saturday after neighbours alerted police about fire and smoke coming from the house.
The bodies were partially burnt and police also found a partially burnt dummy.
Cadell had researched about occult topics on the internet, police officials have been quoted as saying.
While police initially believed Cadell had fled to Chennai, and had been searching for him there, he was picked up by the railway police in Thiruvananthapuram where he had arrived by train.
Initial questioning of Cadell has reportedly led police to believe he was deeply into research about occult practices, perhaps for a decade, apparently without the family’s knowledge.
Cadell had gone to Australia to study medicine but eventually studied artificial intelligence and was involved in video game development.
Reports quoting police officials said Cadell had confessed to the crime, and that he had done that in his pursuit of understanding ‘astral projection’, described as an out-of-the-body experience.
He had apparently wanted to learn about the methods of freeing the “astral body” from the physical body.
“Further questioning is required to understand the motive behind the crime,” deputy commissioner of police Arul B. Krishna said.
Since Cadell displayed signs of mental pressure during questioning, police have decided to include a psychology expert, Mohan Roy in the team that is questioning the suspect.
Cadell has reportedly confessed that he killed all four people on the same day.
However, police have not taken the confession at face value.
Police believe there were no other accomplices in the murder, but are unsure about when the murders took place.