Sooraj Kumar has just been handed a double life sentence for the murder of his wife. Curiously, officials in India are reporting that this murder is part of an ongoing trend. Death from a snake bite is fairly common in India compared to other parts of the world. Murderers in the country are seemingly taking advantage of this fact by committing the crime using a venomous snake. In the case of Sooraj Kumar, it’s been reported that he murdered his wealthy wife in order to gain control of her finances. The way the police built their case is something worthy of any ongoing crime drama series.
According to what NBC News has learned, Sooraj Kumar first attempted to murder his wife using a viper two months prior to her death. The viper attacked the woman’s face, which required plastic surgery. The incident was strange because the snake was found on the second floor of the home in the couple’s bedroom and according to the local police, vipers don’t tend to like heights. Finding one on the second floor was entirely unusual, but this fact didn’t stand out until the woman was attacked again.
Two months later, she was killed by a cobra, and there were many unusual things about her death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India saw 1.2 million deaths from snakebites between 2000 and 2019. While this doesn’t make it the most common cause of death, it is common enough for the police to be familiar with what is and isn’t normal. One of the first things to stand out was the size of the bites. An average cobra bite is within the range of 1.8 to 2 centimeters. The bites on Uthra Kumar, the murdered woman, were 2.8 centimeters. This let investigators know that they should take a closer look at the case, so they performed a snake autopsy.
Inside the cobra’s stomach, they found nothing. This is particularly strange. According to the investigators, a wild snake in that area would have naturally been hunting and eating daily and would have taken up to seven days to digest its food.
All of these facts came together during the investigation to paint a very unusual story, but one that matches the growing trend in India, particularly in the state of Rajasthan. Sooraj Kumar reportedly found a snake charmer to buy a cobra from. He then starved the snake over the course of a week. This made sure that the cobra would be angry and ready to strike.
According to Justice Surya Kant, finding a snake charmer willing to sell venomous creatures to locals to be used as a murder weapon is becoming a trend in the area. The more they make this known, the less likely murderers will be able to get away with these crimes.
While using cobras, vipers, and other local snakes as murder weapons is becoming an unfortunate trend in the country, people do naturally come into contact and die by bites as well. Recently, a man in India died after he drunkenly bit a baby snake. The baby had bitten him, and he bit it back in a revenge attack. He went to sleep after that, figuring that a baby couldn’t be venomous enough to cause him harm, and tragically died.
Hopefully, knowledge of the growing trend will curb some of those looking to use snakes as a murder weapon. Surely, local authorities will now be taking a closer look at any death where a bite is involved.