Latvian tourist who went missing in Kerala raped and murdered, 2 arrested

Two men were on Thursday arrested on charges of raping and murdering a Latvian tourist who went missing from Kovalam last month, Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra said.

Latvian tourist who went missing in Kerala raped and murdered, 2 arrested

Thiruvananthapuram: Two men were on Thursday arrested on charges of raping and murdering a Latvian tourist who went missing from Kovalam last month, Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra said.

Accused Umesh and Udayan were relatives and working as unregistered tourist guides, the officer told the media. 

Behra cautioned the media against reporting the woman's name since she was a rape victim.

"This is an unfortunate brutal crime and should not happen to any person. An innocent woman, for no fault of hers, lost her life... The police investigation team will be rewarded for their good work," Behra said.

Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham, who led the probe, said the accused will be presented in a court here on Friday.

"The woman was lured away by the accused and supplied with narcotics. She was later sexually assaulted and attacked when she resisted. The probe will continue as we want to find out if there are more people involved in the crime," said Abraham.

A day earlier, the Latvian's sister IIzie told the media here that the funeral of the 33-year-old deceased will be performed at the public crematorium here on Thursday and ashes taken to her home country. She also met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The victim, her partner Andrew and Ilzie had arrived in Kerala for ayurvedic treatment at a facility on Thiruvananthapuram's outskirts when she went missing on March 14. 

The victim was last seen hiring an auto-rickshaw for Kovalam. She was not carrying her passport or mobile phone with her when she went missing. 

On April 20, her highly decomposed body was found in a marshy area near the famed Kovalam tourist destination. An autopsy pointed to strangulation.

Once murder was confirmed, police questioned several residents and took four into custody. 

In the evening, the victim's body was cremated at the state-run crematorium even as the State Human Rights Commission directed authorities not to cremate it.

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, the victim's sister and a few others were present.

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