Police in Fiji found the bodies of five family members on the side of a cliff after investigating a crying baby.
The victims might have been poisoned, said police in the South Pacific country.
According to the Fiji Sun, a man described as “a witchdoctor” and his wife are considered suspects in the case. The couple have permanent residency in New Zealand and have been living in Christchurch for several years.
The crying baby, Samaira Kumar, 1, was discovered by Kelera Toloi, 25, according to the BBC.
“By the looks of it, she was hungry but I wonder what inhumane mind could have done such a thing,” she told the Sun. “Fortunately she did not walk or she would have fallen off the cliff.”
The victims were identified as Nirmal Kumar, 63, Usha Devi, 54, and Nileshni Kajal, 34, who is the daughter of Nirmal and Usha. Kajal’s two daughters, 11-year-old Sana and 8-year-old Samara also died, Fiji Sun reported.
Police blamed their deaths on “an alleged harmful substance,” according to the report.
The two unnamed suspects were questioned and released after 48 hours.
A police officer said that they cannot leave the country.
“We released the man, who we have been told is a witch doctor, [Wednesday] and we will release the woman when her 48 hours expires [Friday],” the official was quoted as saying by the Fiji Sun.
More tests will be conducted by the Fiji Police Chemistry Lab in Nasova following the post mortem examination conducted on the five victims of the Nausori Highlands tragedy as it showed all victims had ingested an alleged harmful substance which resulted in their deaths.
— Fiji Police Media (@fiji_force) August 28, 2019
“They are our prime suspects right now,” the officer told the paper. “According to the evidence that we have, we tried to exhaust all avenues to keep them in custody longer for questioning in connection with the five deaths.”
The man suspected in the case had treated Devi for stomach pains in the past, using herbal medicine, Stuff NZ reported. The outlet identified the suspect as Muhammad Isoof, 62.
Kumar’s brother, Raj Kumar, told Stuff NZ that they had known the man for decades.
Officers have discovered a fifth body and confirmed dead are three adults and two children. CSI officers discovered the fifth victim a few meters away from where the first four victims were found in the Nausori Highlands earlier today. Investigations continue. pic.twitter.com/j4CC6aJvmz
— Fiji Police Media (@fiji_force) August 26, 2019
“We have known him since 1972 when his father built their house next to ours,” Raj said. He added, “My brother used to look after their home and fix anything that needed to be fixed. We were very close, since 1972. We grew up together.”
Raj said relatives from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are flying to the funeral this weekend.