Body of a popular Catholic priest of a Kottayam church, who went missing since Sunday, was recovered from the church well on Monday morning.

Fifty-seven-year-old Thomas Ettuparayil had returned from the US last year and taken charge as the vicar of the St Thomas Church, Punnathura near Kottayam .


Anxious parish members had complained to the police about the missing priest, following which a search was launched, but they were unable to locate him immediately.

The incident

"It was yesterday morning when a few parishioners who went to meet him discovered that he was not in his room. When they opened his room, they found that he was not there.

"His mobile was in the room and we found out that the CCTV was also switched off. We came to know that he had an appointment with the diocesan bishop on Sunday as he was seeking a transfer. When we checked up with the dioceses, it was found that he had not appeared for the meeting," said a local parishioner.

The police also found that the CCTV was switched off. The search operations that resumed on Monday morning located the body of Thomas in the well of the church. According to the police a plastic rope also was recovered near the body. A probe is underway.

The priest was popular among the parishioners and an incident occurred in the church when some documents were burned and he was deeply affected.