Now, I know I will get justice for Felix, says mother of youth found dead in Goa in 2015

Updated: Jul 23, 2019, 07:31 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Mother of Felix Dahl, who was found dead in Goa in 2015 with head injuries, says that she is confident her son's case will meet logical end

Felix Dahl
Felix Dahl

The sentencing of the main accused in the Scarlett Keeling murder case has emerged as a ray of hope for the families of foreign tourists who were mysteriously killed in Goa. Even though 61-year-old Minna Pirohnen, mother of Felix Dahl, who died in Goa in January 2015, is worried about the slow progress of the case's investigation being carried out by the CBI, she is confident of getting justice, too.

Responding through an email from Finland, Minna said, "We are aware of the fact that it is just the beginning of a long battle for justice. The Scarlett Keeling, Stephen Bennett and Denyse Sweeney cases have shown us that the fight for justice in Goa is a tough one. But we will fight for as long as needed, even it is for decades."

She further said, "I am sorry for my negative views about Goa and the local people, even though I don't think the same for everyone there. There are many Goans whose relatives were murdered there and the local police refused to investigate the cases."

Minna Pirohnen
Minna Pirohnen

Speaking to mid-day, Minna's lawyer, advocate Rajdeep Lahiri said, "After the local police closed the case saying that Felix died in an accident, his family had moved the Goa division bench of the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI investigation in the matter. After the court granted permission, CBI started investigating the case last year. No status report has been filed in the matter yet."

When contacted, Denyse's mother Andrea mc Laughlin Brannigan, said, "I hope my daughter's case gets fast-tracked as I was promised. I am very happy for Scarlett's mother Fiona."

Goa's image at stake

Soon after the division bench passed the verdict in the Scarlett Keeling case on July 17, Felix's aunt Sanna Cutter sent a WhatsApp message to the new leader of opposition in the Goa Assembly MLA Digambar Kamat, mentioning some suggestions from the families of 10 tourists killed in Goa, which they want to be discussed in the monsoon session. The
message reads:

1. Goa police need basic training about how to investigate murder cases.

2. Cases of tourists who have been murdered there that have not been investigated or remains unsolved should be opened and looked into again. Allowing the killers to walk free after committing such terrible crimes ruins Goa's image as a tourist destination.

3. A fast track court should hear these cases to ensure justice.

However, she has not received any response from the leader yet.

Interestingly, Felix's family was amongst those from across USA, UK and Finland, who had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 asking for help. Referring to that, Sanna said, "So they can't say they don't know about the cases. I've mailed many others in those four years but no one has replied, including Modi."

Deaths linked to drugs?
When asked whether the deaths in Goa were linked to drugs, Minna said, "That's what people usually claim but Goa's tourism sector is linked to drugs. Most people visit Goa to smoke cannabis, and it is freely available there. But the tourists who were killed in Goa and those who left the place safely were not different when it comes to drugs. There must be other reasons. What is strange is that most of the autopsy reports of the dead tourists claim that drugs were found in their body but in case of Felix and Denyse that was not true."

She further said, "In a second autopsy it was revealed that Denyse had a lethal wound on her head, just like Felix. I don't think the deaths are linked to drugs. There are violent Goans who are allowed to beat up and injure tourists from whom they try to extort money in connivance with the police. That is the reason why the local police refuse to investigate those cases."

The incident

Twenty-two-year-old Felix Dahl had gone on a vacation to Goa in October 2014. He was staying in Agonda, an area he liked and wanted to settle down in. On January 26, 2015, he had an argument with a local in Patnem after which the police took him back to Agonda. The following day he was found dead in Patnem with head injuries. Local police claim that he fell on the street and hurt himself, but a second autopsy conducted at Finland suggested that the head injuries were not due to an accident. Surgeon Edward N Willey had listed a number of points hinting that the death was a homicidal attack. During the course of investigation, the police have not considered crucial statements of witnesses and circumstances that might have turned the probe angle. Meanwhile, the family has announced a reward of 1,400 euros (R1 lakh) for anyone who reveals the identity of the culprit and produces evidence to the prosecution.

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