5 skeletons of family members recovered from house in Karnataka

Chitradurga: The skeletal remains of five members of a family were recovered from a house in Chitradurga district in Karnataka, police said on Friday, December 29.

The skeletal remains are suspected to be those of retired government executive engineer Jagannath Reddy (85), his wife Prema (80), daughter Triveni (62), and sons Krishna (60) and Narendra (57), they said.

However, the identity of the deceased could be ascertained only after a forensic examination, police said, adding that the cause of death will be established through an autopsy.

The family members kept to themselves and had severe health issues. They were last seen in 2019, and their residence has remained locked since then, police said.

The police learned about the incident on Thursday through local media personnel, who were informed by a person in the locality.

“We visited the spot on Thursday evening and spoke to acquaintances and relatives of the family. All of them claimed that the family used to live a completely secluded life and was facing critical health issues. The family was last seen in June–July 2019. The house was always locked. Around two months ago, the main wooden door was seen broken by someone on their morning walk, but police weren’t informed,” a senior police officer said.

A police visit to the scene of the crime suggested that the house had been intruded on multiple times and ransacked. Four skeletons (two on beds and two on the floor) were found in one room in a sleeping position, while another skeleton was found in a lying position in another room, he said.

Forensic Science Laboratory experts from Davanagere were called to collect evidence. The crime scene has been guarded and sealed to ensure there is no tampering with evidence, he said.

“The exact cause of death is not clear. It could be suicide or something else. We are in the initial stage of the investigation. We will be able to ascertain the cause of death only after the forensic examination and autopsy are done and the reports are received,” the officer added.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Tumakuru, State Home Minister G Parameshwara said, “There is a report about finding five skeletons in a house. For how long they have been there and who they are. I have asked the police to investigate it.”

“The police are already at work, and the samples have been sent to a forensic science lab to find age and other details. Also, information is being gathered as to who the house belongs to and who is living there.

“Whether they died by suicide or were killed by someone, details are not known. After an investigation and a forensic report, we will get to know. Until then, we can’t say anything or come to any conclusion,” he said.