Kollam child abduction: Three members of a family in custody from near Shenkottai in TN

The police suspect a financial dispute between the suspects, and Reji, the father of the girl child, Abigail Sara, is said to be the reason.
Abigel Sara Reji with her mother Siji Reji | Express
Abigel Sara Reji with her mother Siji Reji | Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Attempting to put to bed the suspense in the case pertaining to the abduction of six-year-old Abigail Sara Reji from Oyoor, Kollam, the state police took into custody three members of a family — who had been on the run since cops scaled up the investigation — from Shenkottai.

Highly placed sources said the police cracked the case using cyber evidence. The investigation team tracked down close to 26,000 IP addresses, in addition to checking an array of Instagram accounts and CCTV visuals.  

Chathannoor native K R Padmakumar, his wife and their daughter were taken into custody by Kollam city shadow police from a hotel in Puliyarai on Friday afternoon. The trio, who were reportedly heading to their farmhouse in Tamil Nadu, were taken to the AR Camp in Adoor, where they were questioned. Their interrogation continued late into night. Police sources said the car that was used to kidnap Abigel was recovered from Padmakumar’s residence.

Kollam police, who had been groping in the dark since the kidnapping, finally made a breakthrough on Thursday noon when they received a CCTV visual, in which the faces of the suspects were visible. Officers developed the images and then used a software to run social media platform checks. They found pictures of persons uploaded on one of the suspect’s Instagram accounts matched those in the images they had accessed. 

Officers collected more details on Padmakumar and found that he owned several cars, including blue and white ones. 

CCTV visuals had revealed that cars bearing these colours were used in the kidnapping. The auto-rickshaw driver, who had ferried one of the women on Monday night, also identified the person from the photograph. 

Cyber evidence proved crucial

Officers found that Padmakumar owned a farmhouse near Chirakkara and suspected that the child could have been kept there on Monday night. Meanwhile, the cyber investigation wing was working on identifying IP address from which ‘Tom and Jerry’ cartoon was shown to the child while in captivity. 
The child had told investigators that her abductors played the cartoon on a video-sharing platform to keep up her spirits on Monday night.

Following this hint, the cyber team collected information that the said cartoon was watched on the platform from nearly 26,000 IP addresses in the country. They narrowed down the data and focused on Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta districts and found that a little more than 100 IP addresses, including that of Padmakumar, had played the cartoon at the time mentioned by the child. By then, Kollam City police had zeroed in on Padmakumar and his family as suspects and the findings of the cyber team cemented their suspicion. “The suspects had left behind very little digital footprint. Kollam City police did brilliant fieldwork to zero in on the suspects. The cyber team supported them with digital evidence,” said a source. 

The child, meanwhile, also identified the suspects from their photos and once their involvement was confirmed, the police picked them up from Puliyarai.

Police did not officially comment on the motive behind the kidnapping. But sources said Padmakumar revealed that Abigel’s father Reji owed him `5 lakh. Reji allegedly took the cash from Padmakumar after promising to provide a nursing seat for his daughter. Reji, however, failed to keep his word and refused to return the cash. This allegedly forced Padmakumar to commit the crime, said sources.


  •  Cyber team tracked down nearly 26k IP addresses to zero in on the one used by abductors to access the platform and play cartoon for Abigel on Monday night
  •  The team found that around 100 IP addresses active in Kollam, T’Puram and P’thitta, including that of Padmakumar, played the cartoon at the time 
  •  CCTV visuals of the suspects provided the crucial breakthrough 

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