Finnish police calls 23 year old Finnish Felix Dahl’s death a crime and a homicide after Goa Police termed it unnatural death, the Post mortem clearly mentions that the five wounds on the back of Dahl’s head is due to a hard and blunt object but Canacona Police says it is due to a fall. Are Canacona police and locals known to Felix behind a murder cover up?
First Scarlett Keeling, then Denyse Sweeney and now Felix Dahl. Contrary to what Goa wants to believe that foreign tourists coming to Goa get caught in a matric of drugs and intoxication locally and lose control and die on their own due to natural reasons, there is a sinister Goa that preys on innocent and often free spirited foreign visitors. Felix Dahl was a victim of that Goa. This is Goa’s shame.
A police force that is integral to a massive cover up of the death of a lone visitor to India, a government that cares more to spend on attracting tourists than to ensure that they are safe and a state that is oblivious to the ordeal that visitors whether domestic or foreign have to undergo while on a visit of the state. On January 28 between 1:30 am and 6:30 am, 22 year old Felix Valdemar Dahl died on a remote roadside. While the death went unnoticed as a routine case of unnatural death, there was something not quite natural about his death.
The Goan first smelled a rat perusing a post of February 6 on South Goa Community by Sana Cutter who wrote “DID YOU KNOW FELIX DAHL? Felix was staying in Agonda since october,it was his second visit to Goa(first time a year ago). He was found dead in Patnem on 28.01. We are trying to reach anyone who knew him or knows what happen to him,as the police haven’t been very helpful. And we want to thank all the people who have talked to us and helped us so far. It still remains unclear what actually happened”. The death which was caused due to internal haemorrhage or bleeding of the brain left more questions raised than answered.
What is extremely embarrassing for Goa as one of the most preferred destination is the fact that the sinister nature in which Felix died went unnoticed. It was an extremely loving mother and an aunt who both brought the case back into focus. Felix’s mother Minna Pirhonen, lecturer at University of Helsinki’s, Plant Pathology Laboratory at Department of Agricultural Sciences asked us “How can you help me to find out the truth about the death of my son Felix?” Minna told this newspaper about her frustrations with Goa Police that did “not have the will to work further with this death, and most likely they also lack the resources”.
Her frustrations also arose from the fact that “Even the Finnish police do not want to have anything to do with the death of my son”. But her hard work has borne fruit.
Reason #1: Finnish police call it a crime
On March 10, Mina Pirhonen was contacted by the local police department to convey that Keskusrikos poliisi or Central Criminal Police of Finland was taking over the case of Felix Dahl’s death. Prior to this the coroner who examined Felix Dahl’s death had confirmed Mina’s deepest suspicion. “The doctor who did the autopsy in Finland gave some preliminary information to the police (and also to me yesterday in the phone even if she should not do that). The doctor thinks that Felix could not have fractured his skull this bad by falling himself but there has been somebody else involved, somebody hitting him or driving over him by car etc.
Now the Finnish police also acknowledged that to me on the phone and admits that falling from his own feet is highly unlikely”. But the Goa Police has all along thought otherwise. When The Goan contacted PSI Prashal Desai said, “The post mortem report also don’t show any major injury which can convert the case as murder case… Cause of death is due to the head injury as specified in the report of government hospital. But the injuries are an irregular shape and it can happen with the fall”. Goa Police had already made up its mind to cite unnatural death in its report as death by a mere fall. Something that a student of matriculation in science would have debunked easily.
Reason #2: Lightweight fall, with serious skull injury?
The investigations on record are pretty baffling and raise serious questions about whether necessity and not science decided the fate of Felix Dahl’s post mortem report. The post mortem at Hospicio Hospital starts off by stating that “probably the death was due to accidental fall”.
Crime scene investigations reveal that there was no high place next to the body from where Felix would have had a fall enough to crack his skull. Medical science has it that a little over 200 pounds of force (or nearly 1000 Newtons) is required to break the skull. How could then a thin and wiry bodied Felix crack his skull by just falling off his feet? Forensic experts on conditions of anonymity after reading the Post Mortem Report opine that such a huge impact that could break his skull could have been caused on by a heavy and blunt instrument and not just by a mere fall. They also point out to the fact that even when a human body falls on its own, due to the presence of joints, it buckles down and as such the impact to any part of the body especially skull is not enough to break it. It can at the maximum cause internal haemorrhage. Incidentally, as per the post mortem report Felix’s death was caused by the internal haemorrhage of the brain but that caused by the five wounds on his skull which were almost 0.5 to 1 cm deep.
Reason #3: Wide point of impact, local action?
Felix Dahl’s final cause of death certificate released by Hospicio Margao’s Medico Legal Officer concludes the cause of his death as “Head injury in the form of fracture of skull bones, damage of brain and internal haemorrhage”. What is interesting to note is the point of damage to the part of body? While rest of the body too has signs of injury how could the impact of a fall cause gash enough only on the skull and nowhere else. Nowhere does the post mortem report make note of internal haemorrhage elsewhere on the body. So how did Felix fall to land only on his skull? The wound on the back of the skull numbering five or more holds the key to a possible homicide.
There are further questions on the nature of injuries to his body. For example there is abrasion on just one side of the body and face of the victim. Something that is associated only when a lifeless or unconscious body is dragged, explain experts. Does that mean that Felix was first hit from behind on the head and then dragged aside and left to bleed to death? Crime sleuths will have many such questions to answer even as Goa Police is still “investigating from many angles”.
Reason #4: Why the hurry to remove the body of evidence?
Earlier last month, Canacona Police issued a no objection certificate on February 4, 2015 to transport the body of the deceased Felix Dahl. For a police that was still “investigating from many angles” why was the body sent off in a hurry not even a week after the death happened? To the luck of justice, forensic experts in Finland found what Goa’s police or forensic officers of the government could not find – clinching evidence that Felix Death was a crime, a murder.
But then there are serious questions that do crop up. PSI Prashal Dessai who conducted the Panchanama of Felix Dahl’s belongings on February 4, a week after his death and six days after his post mortem notes, after listing an inventory of 51 belongings that “Further the said Shri Lenslood s/o Alvito Fernandes handed over one colour bag containing silver colour Apple Mac Book Pro laptop along with charger and informed that the deceased has kept the said laptop at Ocen View restaurant for restaurant use”.
Lenslood used to hang around with Felix and also helped identify his body and even accompanied it during the autopsy. Felix’s mother while reconstructing her own research into her son’s death told The Goan that Malaurie Murden, a 21 -year-old from Washington, DC who socialized intensively with Felix whilst in Goa told her that “Lenslood had told her (Malaurie) that Felix went to the restroom and never came back. Lenslood told me that he looked for Felix until about 4 am and then he drove back to Agonda and went to the Ocean view restaurant and got Felix’s computers from the restaurant into his hut. When I asked why, he told me that he wanted to send messages to everybody in the morning that Felix had disappeared. Malaurie told that there was somebody in Felix hut during the night. Right after Felix’s death she told me that Lensloi slept in the bed in the morning, but now she told that Lensloi told her that it was not him but his friend who slept in that hut during the night”.
Malaurie, when contacted, stated that it was one of Lenslood’s friends who was staying in Felix’s hut that night. “When I found out that Felix was dead I went to Lenslood’s hut to wake him and he had Felix’s computer and things in his room,” says Malaurie. Malaurie’s admission is also quite crucial as she and another person who went to the police station to identify Dahl with pictures. “You could see that he had a wound in the back of his head, as if someone hit him from behind. I think someone killed him. Maybe he hung out with the wrong people, or maybe he owed someone money”, says Malaurie in an interview with the Finnish press.
There is more than what meets the eye in Felix’s death and what is at stake is Goa’s reputation as a safe and just place. A relook at the post mortem report and a forensic analysis of Felix’s laptop and his mobile records could provide clinching leads to establish how Felix died and who could be responsible for his death. As Finland’s leading crime investigation agency takes over the investigation, Goa Police’s ignorance and callousness sticks out like a sore thumb in the case of the death of one of Goa’s many ardent fans.