𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑒𝑐𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎 77-𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟-𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑤𝑜𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑎𝑡 𝐿𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑗𝑜𝑝𝑎𝑘ℎ𝑎 𝑖𝑛 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑚𝑝ℎ𝑢
A non-national girl, aged between 13 to 14-year-old, was reported to have committed suicide by
hanging herself with a Khadhar (scarf) at Langjopakha in Thimphu on the evening of January 17. The
deceased was found hanging inside the toilet.
The deceased was living with a 77-year-old woman who had brought her from Jaigaon, India about
seven years back when the girl was then about six to seven years old.
During the time of the incident, those present in the house were the 77-year-old elderly woman, her
college-going grandson who has been living with her for the past two to three months, while one of
her sons lived downstairs.
Investigation Officer Major Namgay Rinchen said when they reached the site of the incident, the body
was already brought down on the floor with the scarf still wrapped around the neck of the deceased.
During the investigation, it was revealed that the body was found partially hanging (a hanging in which
the feet touch the ground or any underlying objects); the neck of the deceased was tilted towards the
wall and an empty bucket were kept upside down.
This bizarre scenario raised suspicion of homicide, but the crime scene, post-mortem, and the victim’s
characteristics were in favor of suicide, said the Major.
“Foul play was ruled out,” he added.
The statement recorded with the police stated that on that fateful evening at around 6:30 pm after an
early dinner, the deceased was asked to go to the toilet to fill up the buckets as the water was being
supplied on a timing basis. The elderly woman was watching TV, whereas the grandson was sleeping
in his room.
When the deceased did not come out of the toilet, the woman went to check on her. After knocking on
the toilet door several times and receiving no response from inside, the woman went to inform her
grandson. The grandson then kicked the door only to find the girl hanging.
“The body was brought down after they cut the scarf with a scissor. The grandson had performed
CPR, but all in vain. Then the police were informed about the incident,” the Major said.
Dr. Norbu, JDWNRH’s Forensic Medical Specialist said, “We determined the causes of the death and
we concluded that the probable cause of the death as of now is hanging. The ligature mark on the
neck looks as if something hard or firm had caused the death, but the mark looks like it is caused by
hanging through the posture of the body.”
Further, he said that they can’t also rule out that such marks cannot be caused by a Khadhar.
The doctor said that there was also an old scar at the upper side of the back and that they are not
able to comment on what had caused the scar – whether it was caused by an infection or it was a scar
caused during an assault. However, no fresh marks were found on the body.
“We never said sexual abuse has been ruled out, but at the same time, there is no acute injury on the
body and no obvious injury in the hymen. Penetrative sexual assault is unlikely,” the doctor added.
Police also said that the deceased, according to the 77-year-old woman, was mischievous and
hyperactive. At times the deceased would indulge in fights with other children in the neighborhood.
According to Major Namgay Rinchen, the elderly woman will be charged for the trafficking of a child. An
the arrest was not made due to the lockdown, her old age, and the woman had some medical issues.
However, he said that she is kept under a strong surety, whereby one of her sons was kept as a
guarantor and she has to report to the police station after the lockdown is lifted.
According to section 227 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, a defendant shall be guilty of the offense of
trafficking of a child if the defendant sells, buys, or transports a child for any illegal purpose. It is a
third-degree felony with five to nine years of imprisonment.
Meanwhile, nothing much is known about the deceased, according to the Major.
“We are yet to verify the deceased’s age, but it is for sure she is below 15-years and above 12-years.”
Meanwhile, the deceased was believed to have been handed over to the 77-year-old woman by an
An Indian man from whom the woman used to buy goods then. As the woman had told the man on
several occasions if it was possible for him to find a girl who can work/babysit. Then during one of her
visits to him, he had brought the girl with him and was handed over to the woman.
Further, it is being said that the deceased’s mother was mentally ill and the father was an alcoholic
who did not pay much attention to the girl?
Chencho Dema from Punakha