A crying one-year-old girl was found crawling alone in just her nappy close to five dead family members. Two children were among those found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Fiji. Kelera Toloi, 25, alerted authorities after discovering the little girl cold and hungry in the Nausori Highlands on Monday morning. Five dead bodies were then stumbled across nearby by a man on horseback at the sightseeing area of Celekuta, with the group all said to have ingested an unknown substance.
The family members, who had no visable injuries, have been identified as husband and wife Nirmal Kumar, 63 and Usha Devi, 54, their daughter Nileshni Kajal, 34, and Ms Kajal’s daughters Sana, 11, and Samara, 8. The toddler, who is believed to be the niece of Mr Kumar and Mrs Devi, was identified as one-year-old Samaira Kuma and taken to hospital. Police have spent the past 48 hours questioning a New Zealand man, who is believed to be a witch doctor, over the mysterious deaths, according to local media. His wife was also questioned but was released.
Ms Toloi, the woman who found the young child crawling across the bottom of the cliff, said things could have ended in further tragedy for the toddler. The young mother, who changed the baby’s soggy nappy and fed her two bottles, said: ‘Fortunately she couldn’t walk yet or she would’ve fallen off the cliff. As a mother, it’s a really sad scenario.’ The child’s mother was in Australia and was reported to arrive in Fiji last Tuesday. Neighbours of the family, who lived nearby in Legalega in the city of Nadi, said they left home on Saturday and never returned. All of their phones were left at home and Mr Kumar’s car was found parked in a supermarket car park shortly after his body was discovered. CCTV footage of the area could be of use to police in their investigation, with local media reporting that the car was dropped off shortly before another car arrived. The person or people in the first car then got in the second car and drove away.
Mr Kumar’s brother, Rajesh, was in India when he heard the news. He told local media: ‘When I heard the news I called my sister and brother in Sydney just to confirm that it was the right news. ‘It was also very hard to get a flight back to Fiji but on Wednesday I finally got one so I left at 4pm and arrived on Thursday at 7am.’ Fijian law states the man can only be held for questioning for 48 hours without any official charges. Police lodged an application to have this period extended, citing a need to question him further, but the request was denied.
The have been no charges and the Christchurch couple have not been named. However, a stop departure order was issued for the couple, meaning they cannot return home to New Zealand while the investigation remains open. Further tests will now be carried out by the Chemistry Scientific Lab in Nasova, Suva to obtain more information about the substance that was ingested by five victims.