He went missing after placing obits in newspapers
The 75-year-old from Kuttikkol, near Taliparamba, who had been missing since last week after getting his own obituary published in major Malayalam newspapers was taken into custody from a hotel room in Kottayam, the police here said.
Joseph Melukunnel had been missing since he vacated his room in a hotel at Payyannur on November 30 morning when the Malayalam newspapers carried news of his own ‘death’ and advertisement announcing the death.
The day before, he had arranged at Payyannur the publication of the news item and the advertisement in the Kannur edition of the newspapers.
Wife lodges complaint
On seeing the obituary in the newspapers, his wife lodged a complaint at the Taliparamba police station on November 30.
The ‘obituary’ news and advertisement stated that the funeral of the ‘deceased’ would be held at the cemetery of a church in Thiruvananthapuram. The hoax obituary also stated that the deceased had been undergoing treatment at the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to the Taliparamba police, the missing person had gone to a cooperative bank in Kottayam on December 4 and told the bank’s official that he had some ornaments, cash, and ATM card that he recovered from the body of a relative. He also asked the officials to send them to the wife of the deceased at Kuttikkol.
The bank’s official contacted the Agricultural Development Cooperative Bank at Taliparamba, which immediately raised the suspicion that the person could be the missing septuagenarian. By the time the man had left the bank’s premises.
The Talilparamba police immediately alerted the Kottayam police.
He was taken into custody from a hotel room. A police team left for Kottayam to take him to Taliparamba for questioning, the police here said.
Kottayam (West) CI Girish P. Saradhy said Joseph decided to walk out of his house as he did not want to be a burden to his family. He had some health problems and feared them to be of terminal in nature.