Mumbai deaths: Father gagged kids with vests, wrapped their heads in plastic

Over 200 cigarette butts were strewn over flat 501 of Odyessey building in Bhakti Park, Wadala, from where the decomposed bodies of the Donatus George Anthony, his wife Elizabeth (45) and children Jason (12) and Vivian (4) were found last morning, painting a vivid picture of a father’s distraught mental state before he took the extreme step of taking the lives of his children and wife before killing himself.

Not-so-sweet end: Donatus and Elizabeth Anthony were found dead, along with their son Jason (12) and daughter Vivian (4) at their Bhakti Park home. Preliminary probe indicates that Donatus offered them poisoned sweets, before consuming one himself

Psychiatrist Sanjay Kumavat said, “This clearly indicates that the high level of anxiety and frustration that the man might have experienced hours before taking the extreme step. He did not want his wife or children to experience humiliation or face tough situations after his demise and hence decided the worst.”

Crime spot: Police investigate the home of Donatus Anthony in Bhakti Park, Wadala. Pic/Siddharth Dhadve

Last evening, a panel of five forensic surgeons attached to Sion post-mortem centre headed by Additional Professor Dr Rajesh Dere conducted autopsy on all the four bodies. The process lasted for over four hours. Preliminary autopsy has ruled out any struggle, in the absence of injury marks on the bodies. However, the doctors have preserved the nasal swabs and blood samples from Anthony, as he was a heavy smoker. Tests will determine if he was taking any drugs with the cigarettes.

Curious: The crowd inside the premises of the society. PicIC/Pradeep Dhivar

No external injuries were found on any of the bodies. However, the experts refrained from certifying the cause of death, as reports from chemical analysis are yet to be received. Both the children had been gagged with vests, and their heads then tied up in the ubiquitous black plastic bags that are used to line waste bins. Forensic experts said that this confirmed the man’s desperation to ensure that the death of his children, even if they survived the poisoning.

Plastic bags contain polyvinyl, which makes them stick to the surface of the skin, leading to suffocation. This implies that Anthony had thought things through before executing his plan.

Crime scene
Forensic scientists from the Toxicology and Biology departments of State Forensics Laboratory, Kalina, and surgeons from Sion post mortem centre accompanied the police team to the apartment in Bhakti Park, Wadala, to inspect the scene of crime and trace a possible sequence of events. The dead bodies had been moved out by then, but the police have video-shot the scene before shifting the bodies.

According to police sources, the entrance to the flat leads to the living room, which is approximately 15 feet x 11 feet. The lights and the fan in the room were on. A 2-litre drum containing half a litre of ether was found lying on the floor, along with a bottle of rum with about 100 ml left, a pack of juice, and two packets of chocolate of which one was half-eaten. Some clothes were strewn on the sofa. Around hundred cigarette butts littered the living room. 

A huge 7 ft x 8 ft bed was located in the bedroom, where the decomposed bodies of the deceased had been found. The AC in the room was on at 25 ºC and the small LCD television was also on. In this room too, over a 100 cigarette butts were found. ¬†Preliminary investigations have indicated that the children were poisoned in the hall, and later dragged into the bedroom. Since the main door was locked from inside, the police have prima-facie ruled out foul play. Meanwhile, the Wadala TT police are probing the case from all angles and will be studying the files recovered from the computers in the apartment as well as Donatus’s mobile phone records.¬†

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