Thiruvananthapuram: While the case of Jolly Joseph, 47, accused of murdering six people in Kerala’s Kozhikode district, has left police with a challenging investigation, another murder mystery in the state has cropped up in the south of the state.

Adarsh Jayakumar, 14, went missing on April 5, 2009 after he went out to buy some milk.

Following intensive search by his family members and local residents, the body was found in a nearby pond, within a paddy polder. He was a Class 7 student.

The family now suspects that he may have been murdered, and the fact that the post-mortem report pointed to head injury and spinal injury has necessitated exhumation of the boy’s body after a decade.

In the case of the six murders in Kozhikode’s Koodathayi village, too, police exhumed bodies that were buried between 2002 and 2016.

The boy’s disappearance happened in Bharathannur, on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, and the local Pangode police had written it off as a case of drowning.

“His body was found without his pants, and there were traces of blood on the pants. The packet of milk was with him. All we now have are his clothes from which blood or other stains could perhaps be traced”, said the teenager’s father Jayakumar on Saturday. A stick was also found from the pond when the water was pumped out.

“When I picked him up, his head was wobbling. They had beaten him to death,” Adarsh’s mother Sheeja said. “I wouldn’t want to permit digging his grave, but I am agreeing only because the culprit must be identified”, she said.

There is suspicion that the boy may have been sexually abused and then dumped in the pond. Another mystery is that his clothes were found dry even though the day he went missing had been a rainy day.

The murders at Koodathayi in Kozhikode have added to the likelihood that forensic studies conducted on the teenager’s exhumed body may lead to a conclusion about his death.

In the Koodathayi case, the bodies have been exhumed and police are planning to send the samples to a laboratory in the US for examination.