Residents of Faridabad’s Dayal Bagh colony woke up to a shock on Saturday morning as police personnel broke down the door of flat number C-31, following complaints of an odour from the house — and found its four residents hanging from the ceiling fans.
Police said the dead, identified as Meena Mathews, Beena Mathews, Jaya Mathews and Pradeep Mathews, were aged between 37 and 42, and were siblings.
Police said that prima facie it appears they committed suicide. A note dated October 18 and purportedly signed by them was found at the spot, claiming they were taking the extreme step because they were distraught by the death of their mother, father and brother in the span of the last one year.
“A call was received around 10.30 on Saturday morning, complaining of a smell from one of the flats in Dayal Bagh. I went to the spot with my team and found the complaint to be credible, so I called the crime and FSL teams and we broke down the door,” said sub-inspector Randhir Singh, who is in-charge of Dayal Bagh police post.
“We found the bodies of four people — three women and one man — hanging from the ceiling fans. A suicide note was also found in the house,” he said.
Police said the note had the names and signatures of all four, and mentioned how their personal losses had made them feel “alone”.
“Their mother used to work at a hotel and had retired recently. She died five months ago. Their brother, Sanju, also died of an illness a few weeks later. Their father had died earlier,” said Sube Singh, PRO of Faridabad police.
“The family was also cash-strapped. It appears that none of the four siblings were employed. In the suicide note, they requested that their debts be repaid using the items at home, and whatever extra cash is left be given as donation to the father and sister at a church, who had also helped them,” said Singh.
Police said the note also mentioned two people from the dialysis department of QRG hospital, and added that the family’s motorcycle be given to a friend of their dead brother, who had also supported them.
“In the note, they thanked everyone who helped and supported them, and requested that their last rites be carried out at the Burari cemetery,” said PRO Singh.
“Their bodies have been sent to BK Hospital for post-mortem, after which the remains will be handed over to the church for their last rites. The matter appears to be a case of suicide, but further investigations are being conducted,” he said.
Behind extreme step, personal loss mixed with financial crunch
Over the last six months, Upendra has attended the funerals of three members of the Mathews family. On Sunday, he will attend four more.
It was seven years ago that he first got to know the family, when they were still living in quarters provided by hotel Raj Hans, where both parents, JJ Mathews and Agnes Mathews, worked.
“A friend’s father worked at the same hotel, and I had gone to the establishment with him. I met Sanju, the youngest of the siblings, when he had also come to visit his father, and we instantly became friends,” said Upendra.
Although never well off, the family, acquaintances say, was “comfortable”, with both parents bringing in money. Some also claimed that Pradeep and “one of the three sisters” had taken up employment at some point as well. Police, however, were unable to confirm these claims, with officials saying that “no other relatives of the family have come forward yet”.
Things took a turn for the worse in February, when Sanju had a bike accident. People close to the family said he became paralysed from the waist down, and despite surgeries, remained bedridden, with his condition worsening each week.
It was around this time that both parents retired from their jobs, and the family moved to the house in Dayal Bagh colony.
“The parents passed away within two months of each other, from different illnesses, with JJ going first. Agnes died five months ago, and Sanju died only a few weeks ago,” said a neighbour, adding that Sanju was around 32 years old when he died.
“The family had been having financial problems because a significant amount of money was spent in treating illnesses of the parents and Sanju. They were in debt,” he said.
Upendra said, “I had met Meena, Beena, Jaya and Pradeep at all the funerals, and they were particularly distraught when Sanju died. He was the youngest of the siblings and his sisters doted on him.”
Upendra is among those mentioned in the purported suicide note left behind by the siblings, wherein they request that their bike be left to him, to repay a loan of Rs 20,000 that he had given to them “during a time of difficulty”.