London: British police investigating the murder of an Indian-origin woman in Birmingham over 22 years ago are hopeful of solving the case after finding some DNA clues.
Surinder Kaur Varyapraj was last seen outside her home on January 4, 1996, but the decomposed body of the 36-year-old mother of three was found in her bedroom only on March 5 that year.
Detectives, who have not been able to match the DNA profile to anyone on their databases, want to trace a man who lived nearby and believe the answer "lies within the community".
"This was an horrific act and we are still doing all we can to deliver justice for the family of Surinder," Sab Johal, an investigator on the West Midlands Police Cold Case Review Team, told BBC this week.
Varyapraj's body was discovered after a shopkeeper reported concerns she had not been seen for several weeks. She had been strangled with some sort of ligature, detectives said. Neighbours told officers at the time that they heard loud banging noises before midnight on February 5, 1996, as well as a "brief high-pitched scream".
Varyapraj was divorced and lived alone as her children, a boy aged 14 and two girls aged 15 and 12 at the time, lived with her ex-husband.
Since the DNA was uncovered recently, several people have been eliminated from the original inquiry, but detectives said they wanted to trace the man who lived near Varyapraj.
Investigator Johal believes the man mentioned by witnesses drove a Jaguar XJS, with the partial registration plate of RAJ.
"We think someone may know who he is or remember the car," he said.
He urged people who think they know who the man is to come forward, adding that identities could be protected, and also appealed for the man himself to get in touch.
"If you are that person and you were not involved in the death of Surinder, you can come forward and be eliminated through DNA comparison," Johal said.