Let’s talk about it: Ashok Narain

NamUs gives the year 1987 for when Ashok Kumar Narain disappeared from Eugene, Oregon. Other sources say it was in April 1988. Regardless, Ashok’s disappearance is a very mysterious case — was he a murderer, a victim, or both?

The story begins in 1983 when Ashok, a native of Fiji, married Raj, a fellow Fijian from his village. It was an arranged ceremony. The couple moved to Oregon and subsequently had a little girl, Kamnee Koushal Narain.

The Narains regularly wrote letters to their families back in Fiji. Nobody back home detected anything amiss from the letters; it looked like a normal marriage and Raj seemed happy enough. The letters eventually stopped, but the couple’s Fijian relatives weren’t worried.

In the meantime, in September 1987, the dismembered remains of a pregnant woman were found in two different rivers in Washington and Oregon. A few days later, a toddler’s body was found in yet a third river in the vicinity. Although the police suspected the woman and child were related, they couldn’t prove it, and there were no missing persons that matched either of them.

Ashok’s brother reported the Narains missing in 2006. He’d heard about the dead woman and baby in Washington, and Raj’s family couldn’t find any trace of her online. In 2007, DNA testing confirmed the bodies were Raj and Kamnee. Mother and daughter were taken back Fiji for burial. Raj was 24 years old at the time of her death; Kamnee was only fourteen months.

I haven’t seen anything about a cause of death. It’s possible the police don’t know due to the condition of the remains. It’s equally possible that police do know and are withholding this information from the public.

So… where’s Ashok, the last surviving member in the family? Nobody knows.

When a woman, particularly a pregnant woman, is murdered, the police always start their investigation by looking at the husband or boyfriend. Yet, there’s no warrant for Ashok’s arrest and he isn’t even being called suspect; he’s only wanted for questioning as a witness. He certainly seems to have dropped off the map entirely since his wife and daughter’s killings — although I must admit, he had a really good head start.

Yet the dates here are pretty significant, because if the 1988 date is correct, that means Ashok was last seen over six months AFTER Kamnee and Raj’s killings. And that’s kind of hard to explain away.

I have no idea whether or not Ashok committed the murders. I do, however, think whoever did it was someone close to the victims. I believe this because the killer(s) went to a great deal of trouble disposing of the bodies and concealing their identities. I mean: dismemberment, hiding Raj’s head where it would never be found, and dumping the pieces in three different rivers in two different states. I think if the person was a stranger or only a slight acquaintance, they wouldn’t bother with all that.

R.I.P. Raj, and the baby you were carrying. R.I.P. Kamnee. I hope they find out who committed such a terrible crime.

And… let’s talk about it.

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9 thoughts on “Let’s talk about it: Ashok Narain

  1. Liz November 10, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    He so did it. Why on earth would anyone else go through that makes check trouble to hide the body. 😦

    • Meaghan November 11, 2016 / 11:46 am

      If he did it, he’s certainly done a very good job of hiding HIMSELF after almost 30 years.

      I wonder if, assuming Ashok is the killer and is alive today, whether he went to Canada. He was in the Pacific Northwest anyway, he had already emigrated once, and him going to another country would explain why there’s been no paper trail in the States.

  2. forthelost November 11, 2016 / 1:17 am

    The date could be wrong; remember how Heidi Balach was “last seen” five years after she’d been killed?

    • LM November 11, 2016 / 7:45 am

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. No ones memory is going to be completely accurate 20 years after an event.
      Whether Ashok met with foul play or not, he probably disappeared around the same time that the murders took place.

    • Meaghan November 11, 2016 / 11:44 am

      In some cases records problems are to blame. Also identity theft. Ruth Sharon Hoffman supposedly sought medical care and stayed in a homeless shelter in the days and months after disappearance, when in fact she’d been dead all that time and the mistake was, I think, put down to a clerical error. Like someone writing down a name or Social Security number wrong.

  3. visionjinx91 November 11, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    Cases like this make me wonder how many others there are where the family doesn’t realize they are missing for years or at all.

    Possible Scenarios:
    1. Ashok killed his family-
    An affair was revealed or maybe the baby she was carrying wasn’t his?
    Even if he did kill his family, doesn’t mean he is alive. I found a suicide victim from late 1988 in Portland which is only 2 hours away from Eugene. http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/2589umor.html
    The pain and impact of train suicides are unthinkable. The person must have gone through something tragic to inflict that sort of trauma. Guilt seems plausible. Either way it’s so sad!

    2. He was also killed-
    But his body hasn’t surfaced or has been identified yet. Race isn’t easy to determine especially if the remains are skeletal. He was Asian, but could be listed as Hispanic or Native American.

    3. He is still alive-
    Possibly doesn’t know he’s a missing person. After his wife and child disappeared, he assumed she left him? Then started a new life elsewhere. Maybe he was even a witness to his family’s murders? Since he already wasn’t from the US, I wonder how easy it could be for him to live under a different name posing as an undocumented citizen.

    4. They all died because of a result of an accident (Least likely)-
    It doesn’t mention a cause of death, if it was a drowning they could have been alive when they hit the water (the child); however, Raj was dismembered and they were found in 3 different locations. Were those rivers connected at all? Could there bodies have drifted apart that much? My reason is merely speculation, but 3 people went missing, two bodies found, and authorities are looking for a vehicle. My far-fetched thought is that they all died in a car going into a body of water situation. Raj is found in pieces due to the impact of a car crashing into the water. It didn’t mention any saw marks or any other indications that they were intentional dismembered. They drive into the water, the child’s and Raj’s windows were open and they float out, Raj in parts due to impact, and Ashok is still underwater with his car.

    • Meaghan November 11, 2016 / 7:50 pm

      I know that bodies in the water usually decompose in such a way that the limbs and head detach from the trunk and they come up in pieces. I think it usually takes weeks or months, though.

  4. Amy November 14, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    I actually like #3 and #4 from visionjinx91. Except in scenario #3, my first thought is how many people are out there that are murderers that have started a whole new life, possibly with a new spouse, children? They live everyday knowing years ago they were someone else, and murdered. Their currently family doesn’t have a clue.

    #4 seems plausible except that the remains were found in different rivers. That is perplexing. Do these rivers connect maybe? Several times over the years they have fished a car out of a of water with a body or remains inside. I think it’s very possible that they all went into the water in the car and his body is still submerged. It’s says their remains were found in September, 1997. Any information on when the last time Raj and Kamnee were actually seen? Or when the last letter was received from them?

    Definitely I would have a lot of questions. I feel like there a lot of holes (maybe left by authorities?)Was there any motivation for Ashok to commit murder? How was their marriage? I mean it was arranged, maybe he really wasn’t happy. Even though the letters show little to that, that is hardly “written in stone”. How can they come to a conclusion that Ashok is not a suspect. Or maybe they are only saying that because They don’t want to “scare” him away if he is out there.

    • Meaghan November 14, 2016 / 5:06 pm

      I think the police need actual evidence against somebody to call them a suspect. Suspects, I think, have certain rights that non-suspects do not. Like, the police are supposed to Mirandize suspects before they ask them questions, and they don’t do that with people who are just designated as witnesses. So the police don’t go around cavalierly handing out that label unless there’s evidence to support it.

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