You’ve heard the story before: a young girl goes missing on vacation in another country and turns up dead. However, Scarlett Keeling was just 15 years old when her family spent a six-month holiday in Goa, India, and her dead body was found on the beach. But what really happened to the beautiful British teenager? Ten years later, her mom is still begging for justice.
In 2008, Scarlett’s mother, Fiona MacKeown, left her in Anjuna Beach, Goa, with a local tour guide named Julio Lobo while she and the rest of the family visited different areas of the country. According to Scarlett’s diary, she began a sexual relationship with Julio, despite being just 15 years old. Fiona allegedly had no idea and thought she was leaving her daughter in good hands.
Scarlett’s mother Fiona MacKeown.
Scarlett eventually joined the rest of her family, but went back to Anjuna Beach for Valentine’s Day. On Feb. 17, 2008, she was seen partying at a bar at 3 a.m., and seemed intoxicated. One eyewitness said that she did cocaine with two men, Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho. The same man said he later saw D’Souza laying on top of the teen in the parking lot around 5:15 a.m..
Just hours later, Scarlett’s body was found lying face-down on the beach, with some of her clothes torn off. Police quickly botched the investigation, ignoring evidence and calling it an accidental drowning. However, Fiona and her lawyer later found Scarlett’s bikini and shorts on the beach, and demanded a second autopsy. The second time around, 52 wounds were found on the teen’s body. It was determined that she had been raped, and that it was likely a homicidal drowning. D’Souza and Carvalho were arrested in connection with the crime.
However, Scarlett’s diary showed that the teen had been grappling with darkness. Her writings were morbid, saying she felt stuck, and writing, “I rele rele (sic) don’t know what to do. I wish something big would happen to make my decision final,” according to Telegraph UK. She even drew a hangman in her journal, giving the defense the ability to claim that she may have been suicidal and without enough proof to convict the two men, they were acquitted of the murder and rape in 2016.
On Feb. 21, 2018, Fiona made it clear that she’s never going to rest until she finds peace for her daughter. “The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation is tabling an appeal at Mumbai’s High Court but we’ve been waiting for a date for it to start for 18 months,” she told The Sun. “It feels like they’re going to keep me hanging on for years. The CBI are supposed to be the best India’s got but they’ve never done a proper investigation from the beginning. It feels like they don’t want to know the truth and I’m starting to accept we’ll never get real justice.”
“The judgement very clearly said the CBI and Goa police were lacking in the investigation. A lot of evidence was destroyed, but Indian authorities now need to crack on with the appeal and go right back to the case from the very beginning. We need real justice for Scarlett.” We hope she gets the peace she deserves.