Vile Parle physiotherapist's rape-murder: Genital exam holds key to finding killer

Updated: Dec 09, 2016, 11:16 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Forensic team that conducted autopsy on brutally murdered 25-year-old physiotherapist Shradhha Panchal says accused might have abrasions on his privates as a result of the rape

Shraddha Panchal
Shraddha Panchal

While the police are scrambling to zero in on the suspect behind the gruesome rape and murder of 25-year-old physiotherapist Shradhha Panchal, forensic experts who conducted her autopsy may have a lead on her rapist and murderer. They say the accused may have injured his genitals while raping Panchal.

The cops are working minutely on this clue to ensure they apprehend the accused at the earliest as, according to forensic experts, the abrasions on the accused’s privates may heal within a week, though the injury marks will remain visible for longer.

Also Read: Mumbai Crime: Physiotherapist raped, murdered in Vile Parle, body set on fire

This clinching fact came to light when the forensic surgeons examining the deceased found that she had bled from her anal area because of a tear, which is usually seen in a forcible act. She also had injuries around her vaginal area. In all the deceased had approximately eight injuries on her body (see box: Injuries).

A suspect was examined
While the cops are yet to name an accused, they had brought in a man in his mid-thirties for a medical exam. The suspect is known to the family and lives in the neighbourhood. “No injury marks were seen on physical examination of the suspect, but his blood samples have been collected, which will be used for DNA analysis. The DNA from the deceased’s teeth and other swabs will be matched with that of the blood group of suspect,” the official said. A police officer hinted that they have three to four suspects in mind who will also be brought for examination.

Died before fire
Speaking to mid-day, an expert from the centre said, “We suspect that the victim might have tried to resist the accused, which led to the injuries she had sustained or she might have been under some influence. Though the victim’s stomach did not emanate the stench of alcohol or anything foul. All the samples have been reserved for FSL testing.”

Read Story: Mumbai Crime: Vile Parle physiotherapist's killer an insider, suspect police

The expert said all the injuries were caused before death. However, no soot particles from the fire lit after the rape and murder were present in the trachea or upper respiratory tract, indicating that the victim was already dead when the accused set the place on fire. Experts also found that the accused had locked the door after lighting the fire to cover his tracks, thus reducing the supply of oxygen. Apart from a few burnt books and a portion of the mattress on which the victim’s body was lying, the rest of the room did not catch fire, as there was no oxygen available.

Police speak
Laxman Chavan, senior police inspector, Vile Parle police station said, “At present, we are working on various leads but have not been able to make proper headway. We are confident of solving this brutal incident at the earliest.” Meanwhile a senior crime branch officer, whose team is conducting a parallel probe in the case said, “We are yet to make a headway in the case. Our teams are working on it and hopefully, it should be detected soon.”

Samples preserved during autopsy
>> Nail clippings 
>> Blood samples
>> Vaginal and anal swabs to find any seminal fluid presence, and to ascertain the DNA of the suspect 
>> Viscera
>> Molar teeth for DNA analysis 
>> Scalp hair

Injuries
>> Abrasion on right thigh
>> Abrasion on the left knee
>> Nail marks on the neck indicating throttling
>> Broad ligature marks partially intercepted around the neck
>> Hematoma under scalp 
>> Three injuries above her thighs and on her private areas.

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