FBI probing US student’s death in India

May 20th, 2009 - 10:21 am ICT by IANS  

University of Massachusetts By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 20 (IANS) The FBI is investigating the death last year of a University of Massachusetts student in India that was first ruled a suicide, but her parents now say it was murder.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation took up the case after the parents of Katherine Sherman, who was found dead with a rope around her neck in March 2008, said the investigation by Indian police was probably inadequate, theBostonChannel.com reported.

Indian police made a quick conclusion. “This was an open and shut case that she committed suicide, end of story,” Katherine’s father Charlie Sherman was quoted as saying.

But they didn’t believe it. She had no history of depression. “Her goal in life was to make others happy. To make their lives better,” her mother Patricia said.

The Shermans then asked Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy to get involved and the US Embassy in New Delhi was contacted along with the State Department.

Studying ecology, Katherine was living in Auroville in southern India where she was studying with Amherst-based Living Routes. She was found in her grass hut, her feet touching the floor, the rope elaborately tied to a high beam.

“The noose was also tied with a very, very complicated, sophisticated … mariner’s knot,” Patricia said.

Katherine wasn’t a sailor and Rs.20,000 was missing - cash Katherine had taken out from the bank.

“Twenty-thousand rupees is about $390. It might not be much here but over there it’s a princely sum,” Charlie said.

The Shermans claim that Indian police did a sloppy job, trampling and destroying key evidence, so they had an independent autopsy done in the US.They said they have no doubt their daughter was murdered.

Like thousands of college students, Katherine, a junior from Chelmsford, was looking forward to spending a semester abroad, but now, a year later, her parents are asking who killed their daughter. The only thing they are convinced of is that Indian police botched the case, the website said.

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