NEWS

Highlands Tragedy: Few People Interviewed, CCTV Footage Obtained From Multiple Sites

We brought in a few people, some as witnesses and some for interrogation: Police
11 Sep 2019 11:26
Highlands Tragedy: Few People Interviewed, CCTV Footage Obtained From Multiple Sites
Police officers at the crime scene in the Nausori Highlands where five bodies were found. INSET: Police officers remove one of the bodies from the crime scene. Photos: Waisea Nasokia / Police Media Cell

Police are combing through footage from different CCTV cameras as they try to solve the deaths of five people whose bodies were found in the Nausori Highlands.

A Police officer familiar with the investigation said the footage starts from a CCTV camera outside a supermarket in Votualevu, Nadi.

The bodies of Nirmal Kumar, 63, his wife Usha Kumar, 54, their daughter Nileshni Kajal, 34, and her daughters, Sanah, 11, and Samarah, 8, were found at the Nausori Highlands in the morning of August 26.

A post-mortem revealed that the five people died after ingesting some kind of chemical and further tests are being carried out to ascertain what it was.

The Kumar’s granddaughter, one-year-old Samaira was found near the bodies and it is believed that her cries led a villager to the scene.

Mr Kumar’s car was found parked outside the supermarket a few hours after the bodies were discovered.

It was revealed to the Fiji Sun earlier that soon after his car parked outside the supermarket at about 9 am on August 25, a white car drove up and parked next to it.

The occupants of Mr Kumar’s car reportedly got off, took something out from the boot and got into the car that parked next to them and left.

Dead...Nileshni Kumar and her two daughters Sana and Samara.

Dead…Nileshni Kumar and her two daughters Sana and Samara.

According to the Police officer, the investigating team was working 24/7 and viewing CCTV footage starting from outside the supermarket.

“We have CCTV footage from some places, starting from the supermarket right up to Mulomulo,” he said.

“Some houses along the way from the supermarket right up to Mulomulo have CCTV cameras outside and we have obtained the footage.

“In the meantime, we are waiting for the test result from our forensics officers to find out what chemical caused their deaths.”

The officer said investigations were progressing well and investigators were working tirelessly on the case.

“We brought in a few people, some as witnesses and some for interrogation,” he said.

On the vehicle that was seen parked on the Nausori Highlands road a day before the five bodies were discovered, the officer said they were not connected to the investigations at this stage.

The officer also said that if it were not for the little girl’s cries, then the five bodies would probably have not been found on that day.

Late Nirmal Kumar and wife Usha.

Late Nirmal Kumar and wife Usha.

He could not say whether Samaira was near the five bodies, which were metres away from the edge of a cliff, the whole of Sunday night (August 25) or she was dropped there in the morning of August 26.

“But if she was there the whole of Sunday night, then it’s just amazing how she was found alive the next morning when the bodies were discovered,” he said.

Samaira was admitted in Lautoka Hospital for a few days and she is now with her mother, who arrived in the country from Australia after learning about the tragedy.

The officer also said that a man from Christchurch in New Zealand, alleged to be a witch doctor, and his wife were still in the country as the stop departure order against them remained in force.

Police had earlier said that they were suspects in the case.

Police carry the fifth body found in the Nausori Highlands on Monday August 26, 2019.

Police carry the fifth body found in the Nausori Highlands on Monday August 26, 2019.

The deaths of the five members of a family from Legalega in Nadi is being called as the “witchcraft case” in some corners and is a much-talked-about thing at many gatherings.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: avinesh.gopal@fijisun.com.fj

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