It’s been almost a week since the Kerala police began their search for Lisa Wiese, a German national who arrived in Thiruvananthapuram in March this year. The German Consulate, towards the end of May had informed the state police chief that the mother of 31-year-old Lisa had not heard from her daughter since March.
Lisa arrived at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport on March 7 and according to her disclosure in the arrival form, she was to head to the ashram of Amritanandamayi near Kollam, about 80 km from the state capital. But initial investigations by the police revealed that she has not reached there and she was last seen leaving the airport on a two-wheeler. Lisa had spoken to her mother in Germany and her two sons in UK. Lisa had converted to Islam a few years ago and Kerala police are also looking into whether she had allegiance with any groups.
TNM spoke to Lisa's sister Karoline Heling who said that she believed her sister would never disappear without informing her family
Excerpts from the interview (translated to English from German):
1. When was the last time you or members of your family spoke to Lisa? What did she say?
Around March 10, Lisa called our mother to say that she had reached India safely. She sounded happy and in the background mom could heard voices and laughter. This call was very short, she said her mobile phone was not going to be working and she was reachable via mail.
2. How long was her trip to Kerala supposed to be? And why did she come here?
Lisa told her friends that she wanted to distance herself from her Islam Commune group for a while, be free and take time to reflect on life. She was aiming to do that at the Amritanandamayi Amma Ashram in Kerala that she knew well from her trip to India in 2009 (Initially we had thought that her last visit to India was in 2011).
3. Who accompanied her? Do you know this Muhammed Ali who police believe was with her?
I do not know Ali Mohammed and did not know that he wanted to accompany her. Later I learnt that he should have been in India for a week. I do not know what his motivation was.
4. Has Lisa disappeared like this in the past?
No, not in this way, we would always keep in touch unless arranged otherwise, when she said she will be in touch within three weeks. We had no reason to worry as we thought she is safe at Ashram.
In all our researches we found out that Lisa already traveled to India in 2009. She then lived in Germany from 2009 to 2012, but also traveled abroad several times (Africa, Turkey). In 2012, she moved to Cairo and immediately met her husband and soon became pregnant for the first time.
5. She had converted to Islam a few years ago. Did she change her name then? How did your family react to it?
She never changed her name after converting to Islam. Our family was astonished, yet tolerant and open to her choice of religion.
6. Do you believe strongly that your sister would not have gone away without informing anyone?
We believe that Lisa would have never go away for this long without contacting us, especially her sons that she loves so much, she knows they would be very worried. We cannot understand why we have not heard anything from her for over 3 months. This is not typical of Lisa and if not natural for her.