Today's Thought: “A medicine cat has no time for doubt. Put your energy into today and stop worrying about the past.” -Erin Hunter, Rising Storm

Jolly Joseph: the serial killer who faked her identity for 14 years and took the lives of six family members

Himanshu Goyal

Story from India

Mohammad Bava, the neighbor of Jolly Amma Joseph for the past 14 years, has seen Jolly living next door in a pink bungalow and often going to work in the morning several times. Jolly always wore light and crisp sarees or would dress in casual wear such as salwar suit. She celebrates festivals to the fullest and would dress in best of her traditional sarees during the festival season.

She faked working at the National Institute of Technology, Mukkom, in the capacity of a lecturer. She traveled to the college in a white sedan or a two-wheeler from her house in Koodathayi town in Kozhikode. National Institute of Technology is considered one of India’s premier institutes

How did Jolly Amma Joseph manage to plan the alleged murder of six family members over a period of 14 years?

Jolly was the native of Kattappana in the Idukki District. In 1998, after a brief relationship, she got married to Roy Thomas. After the marriage, she managed to make her parents-in-law, Annamma, and Tom Thomas, believe that she holds a masters degree in Commerce along with UGC NET certification.

Her parents-in-law even recommended Jolly for a great job at a senior secondary school in Pala as Annamma and Tom held a privileged position in Koodathayi. But, she never took that job or even went for the interview.

In 2002, Annamma died mysteriously, and after that, Jolly claimed to have bagged the post of lecturer at National Institute of Technology, Calicut. From here, various family members started to die one by one, and Jolly managed to gain an impeccable social reputation, and she also attended the mass at church on Sundays.

Here are certain instances that show that she had a very well planned layout to commit the alleged murders of different family members:

  1. Now and then she would fake receiving phone calls from her “colleagues” at NIT, Calicut and going out with them for official purposes:
    • Jolly used to flawlessly fake receiving calls from her “colleagues” and “seniors” asking her to do some work or the other. Her 2nd Husband, Shaju Zacharias, recalls that he overheard Jolly receiving these calls and saying “Yes Ma’am, I will get these books from the library” and much more.
    • She used to travel for “study tours” and “retreats” organized by NIT, Calicut. She also “attended a colleague’s wedding” at Kodenchery.
      In 2008, 3 days after the death of Tom Thomas, she visited a “study tour” organized by her college.
      Jolly used to visit the college canteen and library regularly. She would often sit there alone, eat, and leave. Likewise, she would visit the library, sit there for a while reading something, and leave.
    • She told her family that she is pivoting from a full-time job to a part-time job at NIT itself as she wished to pursue a Ph.D. in Commerce from Pondicherry University.
    • She told Shaju, her 2nd husband, that she now drew only Rs.18,000/- in salary being a part-time lecturer.

Shaju and Jolly got married after Shaju’s first wife, Cily, died mysteriously. Within two years of this incident, his two-year-old daughter Alphine also choked to death. Both the victims showed similar symptoms such as seizures, apnea, and foaming in the mouth.

After a few months, Shaju became suspicious and learned that Jolly’s NIT job was fake and she never worked there as a lecturer or even had any connection to NIT professionally. Jolly herself told Shaju that she never worked at NIT after she feared getting caught in the murder of Cily and Alphine.

How did her fake identity get exposed?

Rojo Thomas, Son of Annamma and Tom Thomas, was settled in the United States, he always had doubts regarding her sister-in-law Jolly. But, out of respect for his brother Roy Thomas, he took a backseat and never interfered with their lives. After the deaths in his family, especially after the death of Roy Thomas in 2011 due to seizures, he became even more suspicious as he always had doubts about someone being after the family property.

Rojo, his close associate Bava, and Rojo’s sister Renju started connecting the dots and became sure that there was something wrong with Jolly and her identity. They started investigating her identity after Jolly sent a stamped will to Rojo, stating that Tom Thomas has left all his property in the name of Jolly Joseph. He became sure about ill-deeds of Jolly as earlier in 2008 the same will came into picture but was unstamped, without letterhead and sign of the two witnesses.

The post-mortem report showed that Roy had died because of the presence of cyanide in his body. Meanwhile, Jolly kept on insisting that Roy had become debt-trapped and became an alcoholic with thoughts of ending his life.

After these doubt-worthy incidents, Rojo started investigating and visited NIT Calicut, only to know that the witnesses who signed the will had no connection to the college and that Jolly never worked at NIT Calicut.

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When he contacted the family about the same, no one believed him. But, he was sure about his suspicions and requested to re-investigate Roy Thoma’s death, which leads to Jolly Joseph confessing on the crimes and how she murdered six family members over 14 years. She claims that it brought her joy to hear death news and wanted a luxurious life with all the money she got from their deaths.

Current developments in the Jolly Joseph the serial killer case:

The investigating authorities have come forward with various information. The officers believe that she had rented out a residential place for herself near the NIT campus and that she used to visit various places regularly, such as beauty parlor, shops, and other areas. It has also come to the knowledge of the officers that two children were also subjected to the poison by Jolly, but they survived it, unlike the other six victims.

The probe is underway, and new pieces of information are being put out every day by the investigating authorities as and when they learn new facts about the case following the statements of various people and confession made by Jolly Joseph herself.

Himanshu Goyal

Himanshu is a law student who lives in Delhi. He caught the writing bug a few months ago and has been unstoppable ever since. He enjoys traveling, coffee, and the company of like-minded people.

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