HYDERABAD: Six days after, mystery still surrounds what led a 17-year-old boy to kill his family in Hyderabad.
On September 17, college student, S, killed his father, mother and two younger sisters in a gruesome incident of juvenile parricide – one of the rarest of homicides, probably accounting for fewer than 75 of some 15,000 murders committed in the US in any given year. Seldom are both parents murdered.
The killings took place in Sarfaraz Colony in the Market police limits. The police learnt about the murders at around 3:00 am, more than 75 minutes after the incident, according to SHO Wahid Bux Laghari.
The police found three people of the six-member family dead and a girl injured with two bullets to her chest and abdomen – she later died at the Civil hospital. Only S and one of his sisters, Z, were found alive. It later emerged that the boy had spared the life of his sister on the condition that she would connive with him in fabricating a story.
Even though all the collected evidence implicates him, the boy has been trying to mislead the police with different confessions and retractions. “So far he has named six different men and one girl to be involved in the murder; all at different times of investigation, and each account contradicting the other,” said the investigation officer, Aslam Naz.
On Thursday, the boy was taken to the civil court but the judicial officer deferred the hearing until September 22.
His surviving sister was the first to give a statement to the police about the multiple murders. She accused two of his paternal uncles, AJ and A, to have murdered his family over a property dispute and robbing their house as well. Her brother had seconded her version.
However, the story he told the police had some missing pieces. Once his sister revealed that she had been keeping a secret earlier, the missing pieces started falling into place. “As soon as we separated the boy and his sister, the girl broke down and alleged that S had blood on his hands,” the investigation officer said.
Before noon on September 17, the police had recovered the crime weapon – with the boy’s fingerprints – and six bullets. The forensic team, meanwhile, rejected his claim of robbery.
Within a few hours, all circumstantial evidence pointed toward the boy but he remains unfazed.
“I didn’t kill my family; uncles J and H did,” he alleged while talking to The Express Tribune from the lockup where he is being kept alone. Wearing a red half-sleeve shirt and blue shorts, he exuded nonchalance as he narrated a new version of the incident, claiming J and H had assaulted him.
The boy has some eyelid disorder and cannot fully open his eyes due to which he cranes his neck to make eye contact while speaking. The policemen at the station say they have yet to see him show any emotions.
“That night H assaulted me and when he left I heard gunshots,” he said. When he came out, he saw his parents and one of his sisters dead. While he took time explaining that J and H had been forcing his parents to sell their home as the rationale for the murder, he avoided mentioning why he didn’t help his injured sister until the police came.
This version, accusing the two men of abuse and murder, also differs from his earlier accounts, including the one which he gave to the media in the civil court. He had admitted that he killed his parents in collusion with a girl, K, he loved. But later, he disclaimed that the couple wanted to marry.
Generally, the formative years of a child are blamed for unusual behaviour, but S remembers his childhood to be a leisurely one with friends and family. “I had a computer, internet, mobile phone and other accessories. [Then] why would I kill my parents when my mother loved me and my father cared for me?” S asked.
AJ, who was initially blamed for the crime, remembers S as an intelligent student. “He got A-1 grade in his recent matriculation exams from Himayatul Islam School.”
On Saturday, Z accused her brother S of killing their parents and two sisters before the civil judge and judicial magistrate. She deposed that she was spared by her brother on swearing that she would not name him as the murderer. The boy is likely to be charged under the juvenile justice act.
As investigations proceed, the boy is yet to secure a legal aid. The officials at Market police station say that S has not seen any visitors from his family. Even though the evidence implicating S of murdering his parents and sisters is there, the motive behind one of the rarest crimes is still unknown.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2012.
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