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Suchana Seth, CEO of The Mindful AI Lab startup in India, arrested over killing of 4-year-old son

New Delhi — Police in India have arrested the CEO of an artificial intelligence startup on suspicion of killing her 4-year-old son, whose body was discovered in her luggage as she returned from a trip. Suchana Seth, CEO of The Mindful AI Lab in India's southern technology hub of Bengaluru, was arrested in Karnataka on Monday as she returned from the neighboring coastal state of Goa in a taxi. Police said her son's body was found stuffed into a suitcase.

The motive for the alleged murder remained unclear, but police have said that during interrogation, Seth spoke about a strained relationship with her husband, from whom she's separated.

"Prima facie, during questioning, the woman said she had strained relations with her husband and their divorce proceedings are underway… that there was some court order, because of which she was very unhappy. We have not seen the court order. She said she was separated. We have to verify all this," Nidhin Valsan, Superintendent of Police in Goa state, told reporters Monday.

Suchana Seth, the CEO of The Mindful AI Lab startup, is seen hooded in police custody after her arrest on suspicion of her son's murder, in Calangute, in India's western Goa state, Jan. 9, 2024. ANI/Reuters

Seth, 39, reportedly checked into a serviced apartment at Hotel Sol Banyan Grande in Goa, a popular beach destination in western India, on Saturday with her son. She checked out two days later, early Monday morning, and asked the hotel staff to arrange a taxi to take her back to Bengaluru, about 350 miles away.

Hotel staff suggested that she look for a flight to make the journey, but she insisted on a taxi, the police said.

After she checked out hotel staff went to clean her apartment and found blood stains on the floor, then contacted the local police immediately. The staff told the police that Seth had checked in with her son but checked out alone. Police contacted the taxi driver and asked him to drive to the nearest police station, where the boy's body was found.

Valsan said a full post-mortem exam would determine the cause of death, but on Wednesday, Dr. Kumar Naik, an administrative officer at the Hiriyur Taluk Hospital where the autopsy was carried out, told local media outlets the child may have been smothered to death with a cloth or pillow.

Police said the woman's husband was in Indonesia but had been asked to come to Goa for questioning.

The Goa police have registered a murder case against Seth and a local court on Tuesday remanded her into custody for an initial six days pending the investigation.

Seth's LinkedIn page describes her as "an AI ethics expert and data scientist with over 12 years of experience in mentoring data science teams, and scaling machine learning solutions at startups and industry research labs."

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