On the day when two men convicted for the rape-murder of a Latvian woman in Kerala in 2018 were sentenced to life in prison, the sister of the victim told NDTV that she was finally relieved and at peace.
On being asked if she would visit India anytime soon, she said: "I will definitely visit Kerala again. I have made so many friends. I never managed to go to Munnar. So I want to visit Munnar and meet my friends, when I visit Kerala again."
She added: "The investigation team was great. They always kept me informed. I left Kerala only after I was convinced that the right people have been arrested. The evidence is undeniable and I am really happy with the way the investigations were conducted."
Thiruvananthapuram Sessions Court had earlier convicted the two accused, Umesh and Udayan, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rape and murder of the 33-year-old Latvian tourist, who had gone missing from Kovalam under mysterious circumstances on March 14, 2018.
The decomposed and headless body of the woman was recovered from a mangrove forest at nearby Thiruvallam on April 21, 2018, and Umesh and Udayan were arrested on May 3, 2018.
The accused were found guilty based on circumstantial evidence.
Recalling her extended stay in Kerala after the gruesome incident, the Latvian woman's sister said she had made many friends, despite all the grief.
"So many people extended their help to me, out of genuine concern. I was interacting with the politicians, the police. They helped me in every way," she said.
"I remember once while we were looking for my sister and putting up her posters, we were so thirsty. There was a nun who offered us refreshing lemonade. She was so compassionate. She prayed for us. There were many such instances," she recounted.
She added: "I am relieved with the judgement. It's like starting a new chapter in my life."
According to the police, the two convicts, Umesh and Udayan, were history-sheeters who had destroyed much of the evidence. The extremely hard-to-crack case had to be carefully built on circumstantial evidence, police said.