Jolly Shaju is suspected of killing six members of her family over a period of 14 years.
Jolly Shaju is suspected of killing six members of her family over a period of 14 years. Image Credit: Twitter

As the investigation progresses, new updates have been coming up in the alleged serial killing by Kodathai resident Jolly Shaju. As of now six murders are being investigated and Jolly is the prime accused in all of these.

However, on Wednesday, media reports surfaced that Jolly may have tried to murder more people, within and outside her family. According to a police report to the media in the state, guardians of two children have come forward alleging a poisoning attempt by Jolly.

Three mobile phones

On Wednesday Jolly’s current husband Shaju told media that she owned three mobile phones, and that he didn’t know where they were.

Police are looking at her cell records to understand who Jolly was connected to. A telecom employee named Johnson and a registrar named Jayashree have come under police’s radar for having had long-term relations with Jolly. Both were brought in for questioning, police said, along with a ‘friend’ who seemed to be very close to Jolly based on phone records.

More deaths in the family

Two more suspicious deaths in the Ponammattom family are now being discussed widely. The deaths are of two nephews of Tom Thomas, Jolly’s former father-in-law and alleged second victim.

The first one is an apparent suicide by hanging in 2002 of Vincent (son of Tom’s brother Augustine). The second death was that of Suneesh (son of Tom’s brother Dominic) in a bike accident in January 2008. These years also coincide with the deaths of the first two alleged victims: Annamma Thomas (Jolly’s former mother-in-law) in 2002 and Tom Thomas in 2008.

In another seemingly strange coincidence, Vincent was found hanging dead, on the day Annamma’s body was laid to rest. Jolly had earlier confessed to police, as per media reports, about poisoning and killing Annamma.

Both the deceased allegedly had a close relationship with Jolly along with financial dealings.

Elsamma, mother of the deceased Suneesh, called for a detailed probe into both of the deaths. Suneesh, who died in 2008, told his mother on the day Vincent was found that he said “he wouldn’t have died if I had been here”. She added,” I have never had any reason to doubt Jolly [till]… now. She was always pleasant and even used to say that she saw me as a mother figure.”

Astrologer/sorcerer comes into the picture

In a new development, an astrologer’s card was found on the body of deceased Roy Thomas. Jolly also told police that she gave powder given by this ‘holy man’ to Sily, her alleged last victim and current husband Shaju’s ex-wife.

Jolly, according to accounts from neighbours, spread rumours of a curse on the Ponammattom family. She claimed, according to reports, that the curse was why people in the family were dying. A ceremony was held to battle the curse by this astrologer/sorcerer around the time Roy died. The referenced astrologer has gone into hiding and police are investigating him.

Lies fall apart

Jolly, for years, had convinced family and friends that she was a lecturer at the National Institute of Technology in Kozhikode. She had a fake B.Tech certificate and a forged NET passing certificate to prove her case. Jolly would leave home daily, apparently to the college for her job. This elaborate lie has been broken down since her arrest. She was never a lecturer there. However, canteen staff told media that they had seen her from time to time, usually months apart.

In the first official response since the arrest, NIT responded to Manorama that Jolly had no official or other connection to NIT. 

With over 1,600 students and many teaching and non-teaching staff, among other diners, the canteen staff said there was no way to know if she was a staff member or not.

Jolly claimed to Shaju, that she was part-owner in a beauty parlour near the college when her NIT job was proven to be a lie. This was also rubbished by the beauty parlour owner.

What next?

Police teams now are focused on making sure evidence is collected to charge Jolly for the crimes. As the alleged murders were over a long period of time, starting 17 years ago, evidence collection may prove to be the most difficult task for police when filing a charge sheet. Separate teams have been created to look into each murder, with the focus now on the death of Roy Thomas, which is the only one with a valid postmortem report.

The remains of the other victims were exhumed on Friday and may be sent abroad for extensive forensic analysis. While Jolly confessed while in judicial remand, police have now requested a transfer for her and the other two arrested for 15 days into police custody.