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4 die 'in suicide pact'

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KITCHEN BLAST: Found burnt to death at home

SUNGAI SIPUT: RUBBER plantation owner M. Rajan, 48, died after after battling cancer for several months last Friday.

Early yesterday, his wife and their three children were found burnt to death at their family home in Taman Bukit Medan, here, in what police believed to be a suicide pact.

The charred bodies, two locked in an embrace, with two other bodies nearby, were found in the kitchen of the single-storey home, which was razed in a fire.

The dead were Rajan's wife, S. Jayalatchumy, 45, their daughters R. Thilagawati, 23, and R. Puvaneswary, 21, and son R. Suhan, 17.

District police chief Superintendent Azman Salim said investigations revealed that the four victims could not come to terms with Rajan's death as they were a close-knit family.

Azman said they were informed of the fire just after midnight yesterday.

"When the fire was put out 20 minutes later, we found the four charred remains in the kitchen. Two of them were locked in an embrace while the bodies of the other two were nearby," he said, adding that the case had been classified as sudden death, pending further investigations.

The post-mortem showed that the four died of severe burns.

Fire and Rescue Department (Perak central zone) chief Rushisha Harisa said the fire could have started from a gas tank in the kitchen. Neighbours told police they heard a loud explosion before the house was engulfed in flames.

The family's immediate neighbour, housewife Chong Piak Lee, 37, said her family members were asleep when they were awakened by the explosion.

"My husband and I rushed out to check and saw my neighbour's house on fire.

"We rushed our family members out of the house for fear the flames would spread to our home."

Chong said Rajan's family had moved in less than a year ago. They were renting the house.

She added that her 6-year-old daughter would go over to Rajan's house to play with his two daughters.

Jayalatchumy's elder brother, S. Ramesh Rao, 47, also believed that the incident was the result of Rajan's death.

"It has been three years since I last saw or spoke to my sister and her family. There were no problems between, us but they just preferred to be left alone. They hardly joined in any family gatherings."

He received a call from another relative about 2.30am, informing him of the fire.

"I rushed to my sister's house and was greeted by the sight of the four bodies laid out in front of the house. I was surprised when neighbours told me that Rajan had died just a few days earlier," Ramesh said.

Ramesh, a production operator at a cement factory, here, is the third child in the family of nine while Jayalatchumy was the fourth.

"We will claim the bodies and take them to my house for the funeral service."

Sungai Siput MIC division coordinator R. Ganesan said he had spoken to division chairman Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu who had agreed to bear the funeral expenses.

Fire and Rescue Department personnel inspecting the house where a family of four was found burnt to death in a fire in Taman Bukit Medan in Sungai Siput, Perak, yesterday. Pic by Ikhwan Munir


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