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Family of 5 Found Dead on Cliff; Witch Doctor Blamed

A baby somehow survived the incident in Fiji
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2019 12:25 PM CDT
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Fiji stock photo.   (Getty Images / Shadowblaze)

(Newser) – A family of five found dead on a cliff in Fiji. A one-year-old found alive, crawling nearby, having survived 36 hours in the wilderness. And an alleged witch doctor charged in the deaths. Police say Muhammad Raheesh Isoof, 62, lived next to Nirmal Kumar, 63, his wife Usha Devi, 54, for years in Fiji before Isoof and his wife moved to New Zealand. But they returned to Fiji last month for a visit, and allegedly met up with Kumar and Devi before their deaths. Found dead alongside them were their daughter Nileshni Kajal, 34, and her daughters Sana, 11, and Samara, 8. The baby found alive is Kajal's niece. Police say the victims had no visible injuries and one was found with an empty bottle of soda that had no label on it; postmortem exams have since linked all the deaths to a toxic substance, but more testing is being done, News.com.au reports.

Kumar's brother says Isoof, known locally as a healer with "special abilities," had been treating Devi for abdominal pains for years; a family friend tells Stuff.co.nz, "They've performed rituals together at the beach and elsewhere. This is not the first time they've been out together." Investigators say both Kumar and Devi had a fascination with the occult and a long history with Isoof. Kajal's estranged husband, the father of Sana and Samara, supports that story and says Kumar and Devi were obsessed with "witchcraft." As for the baby, Sumaira, one of the witnesses who saw her after she was first found says the fact that she could not yet walk likely saved her life and kept her from falling off the cliff. "I grabbed her and changed her soggy diaper straight away and fed her two milk bottles," she tells the Fiji Sun, per News.com.au. (Read more witch doctors stories.)

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