New Zealand man arrested in ‘witchcraft’ deaths of 5 Fiji family members

A New Zealand man described as a “healer” and “witch doctor” has been charged in the mysterious deaths of five family members in Fiji last month, local police said Sunday.

The man, whose identity hasn’t been released, was charged with five counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, Fiji police said. The man had previously been considered a person of interest in the case.

FIJI POLICE FIND 5 DEAD FAMILY MEMBERS NEAR CRYING BABY, QUIZ 'WITCH DOCTOR'

The five dead family members and a crying baby were found Aug. 26 on the side of a cliff in the Nausori Highlands. The victims were identified by local media as Nirmal Kuma, a 63-year-old carpenter, his wife Usha Devi, 54, their daughter Nileshni Kajal, 34, and Kajal’s two daughters, Sana, 11, and Samara, 8. The baby, identified as 1-year-old Samaira Kumar, was the sole survivor.

Nileshni Kajal, 34, with her daughters, Sana,11, and Samara, 8. (Facebook)

Nileshni Kajal, 34, with her daughters, Sana,11, and Samara, 8. (Facebook)

A toxicology report determined the victims died from ingesting a toxic substance, the New Zealand Herald reported Monday. Police had initially suspected poisoning.

The father of the two dead children earlier told the Fiji Sun he blamed his in-laws’ “extreme” interest in witchcraft for the deaths.

"I never saw anyone or any family so much into witchcraft than my in-laws," he said. “I knew that my father-in-law was practicing witchcraft and in extreme conditions. He would call witchdoctors home or take my mother-in-law to them as she always used to complain of stomach pains and claim that someone has done something to her.”

Nirmal Kumar, 63, his wife Usha Devi, 54. (Facebook)

Nirmal Kumar, 63, his wife Usha Devi, 54. (Facebook) (Nirmal Kumar, 63, his wife Usha Devi, 54. (Facebook))

The New Zealand man was an alleged “healer” who on three previous occasions treated Devi for stomach pains with herbal medicines, Stuff NZ reported in August.

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Fiji police called the man a “witch doctor” and named him and his wife as prime suspects, the Fiji Sun reported early in the investigation. The man and his wife, who have permanent residency status in New Zealand, were questioned for two days last month and issued a court order to remain in the country.

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He is expected to appear at the Nadi Magistrate Court on Monday, police said.

The surviving child, dubbed locally as the “miracle baby,” has since been released from the hospital, according to reports.

Fox News' Robert Gearty contributed to this report.