nvestigative Writer: Unnathi Vithlani
Brandon Gonsalves, an occupant of Goregaon West, had gone for a morning walk on December 19, 2016. He used to generally go to the Aarey Colony and return home within an hour or so. Still, that day, he no way came back. His aged mother and elder sister awaited till afternoon before they started calling his friends to inquire about his whereabouts. Having failed to detect him, Brandon’s family members lodged a missing person’s complaint at the Dindoshi police station. Three days latterly, on December 22, an occupant of Aarey Colony spotted a headless body in a dense patch of the forestland, and notified the police about it. A team from Aarey police station that rushed to the spot found the beheaded and naked body in a sitting position with its back resting on the trunk of a tree. The head and clothes of the victim were located 20 metres down. Many metres down from the torso, the police recovered a Mirror, a Coconut, Padukas (ancient footwear), vestments, Haldi (Turmeric) and Kumkum (Vermilion) along with some other material used in Pooja (The act of deification) and rituals. The body was transferred to a near medical centre, and a team of forensic experts along with senior police officers rushed to the spot. Within hours, the victim was identified as Brandon. The police registered a case of murder, and set up several squads to crack the case. The Crime Branch of Investigation launched a parallel investigation. While the police were on the quest for the suspects, the brutality of the murder was enough to shock indeed the seasoned investigators. “It looked as if someone had mercilessly tattooed two crosses on his body using a sharp object on the forehead and right hand of the body”. The post-mortem report indicated that the death was caused by shock due to multiple injuries with decapitation of head. The post mortem examiner showed that the murder took place around three days before his body was found, and that there were a several injury marks on the body which weren't meant to cause detriment but to carve symbols. Brandon’s tongue was chopped off and the skin of his right cheek was missing. The body was cut twice – first they beheaded him from the shoulder bone and also his neck and throat were cut from the jaw. Apart from his tongue, the neck and voice box couldn't be found,” One thing, the Investigator said, was clear that the incident didn't take place at the spot where the body was located since neither police nor forensic experts found any stains of blood there. This added to the mystery as he was killed nearly differently and latterly brought to the spot where a ritual was performed. “This is the most possible proposition probed, but there were certain effects that demanded a clarity. However, either there had to be two or more people and, conceivably, if he was taken to another place before being killed. It would not have been possible for a single person to overpower or drag him. In any case, he'd have defied, but the post-mortem examination found no injury marks to show the struggle,”. The investigators came across the CCTV footage showing movement of suspicious vehicles in the area. These vehicles were traced and validated but nothing came out of it. The investigators explored all possible angles – personal grievances, love affair, falling prey to a maneater, human sacrifice, thievery, property disagreement – but made no progress. Considering the way body was placed, the police probed human sacrifice angle. Several tantriks (occultist), priests and those involved in black magic were questioned but the investigator couldn't zero in on anyone. The puzzling diary sketches Another thing that puzzled the investigator were the sketches drawn by Brandon in his diary and on the walls, which showed a man beheading creatures. As if finding a beheaded body in the isolated Aarey Colony wasn’t creepy enough, the police have now found a minatory sketch by the victim depicting a human and beast being beheaded in immolation — a grim picture of his own future. Mounting proof seems to suggest that the 22 years old was the victim of human sacrifice, including post-mortem results and the prayer immolations found near the body. “It was questioned further than 1000 people – tantriks, preachers, history sheeters, friends, cousins, and his ex-girlfriends, but couldn't get a solid lead in the case. It was clear that he went to the aarey forest alone as the CCTV footage available that indicated,” According to the call data record of his phone, it was found that he was in touch only with his family and friends and had no way had any communication with any unknown person. The friends, too, claimed that he nowhere mentioned anything to them that could raise uncertainties. The police had found sketches depicting beast immolation made by Brendon, who was reportedly part of a cult and had allegedly become a victim of human sacrifice while conducting a trial and could have lost his life due to superstition. Police have now learnt that Brendon and his friends would summon the dead through a Ouija board. The group he was involved was called ‘Psycho’ and its symbol was “PSY” written in the middle of a star, which was outside every member’s house belonging to that community. The same symbol was found outside Brendon’s house too. Also, if closely noticed the Pentagram in Sun Tattoo on his neck and Sacrifice imaginary in diary indicates interest or Involvement in black magic or witchcraft. Further with the ongoing investigation one of his friends told, “Once he asked Brendon where he came to knew about [the Ouija board] but he ignored. Also, he was present when Brendon summoned the spirit of his dead uncle. Brendon was fond of listening to rock songs. One day while they were playing rock songs, he asked Brendon to summon Bob Marley’s spirit to which he was shocked to see the bowl move to the ‘yes’ point when he asked if the spirit was Bob Marley.” Investigators have also learnt that there were major changes in Brendon four months before his death. A month before, he had become irritable, did not share anything or listen to anyone. Brendon had gone missing on December 18, 2016 and his body was found propped up in a seated position at a field in Unit 2 in Aarey. His head was found 30 metres away. This led to the post-mortem report and it showed that Brendon suffered blunt trauma on the back of his head and died due to decapitation. Sources said this is a common sign of human sacrifice – performing the ritual is easier if the victim is first knocked unconscious to complete the task. So far, the Aarey police have seen all the CCTV footage, recorded statements of more than 500 people, including his friends and neighbours but haven’t got any clue. The mystery surrounding the brutal murder of 22-year-old college student, Brandon Gonsalves, has remained unsolved even after 5 years of investigation, with the Mumbai Police – India.