A three-year-and-nine-months-old girl child, who was allegedly abducted from outside her house in Colony Number Four on Friday night, was found murdered in the forest area near the colony early on Saturday.
The victim, whose body was found naked and had several injury marks on it, is suspected to have been raped and then strangulated to death, before being dumped in the bushes near a nullah. The police are suspecting it to be the handiwork of a person known to the victim.
According to her family, the victim was playing outside her house along with other children from the locality at around 9 pm when she went missing.
“There was a power cut in the colony, and she went outside to play while her mother was cooking food. However, she never returned and we started looking for her after some time. My sister-in-law had seen a man take her away on his shoulders but had thought that he was a relative, as my daughter did not talk to strangers,” said her father, who works at the nearby Elante Mall and stays with his wife, two other daughters and relatives.
Colony residents searched for the girl for about an hour before calling the police. Police teams arrived and started conducting a door-to-door search operation, and also searched the forest area along with the locals. However, after failing to locate her, the police personnel went away at 3 am.
“Residents kept looking for the girl and around 6.30 am, we saw something lying in the bushes alongside the nullah in the forest. On closer inspection, we realised with horror that the girl was lying face-down towards the nullah. The body had strangulation marks, and several injury marks on her limbs,” said Raghunath Yadav, the girl’s uncle.
The police, along with a forensic team and a dog squad, arrived at the spot, but mob refused to hand over the victim’s body. An empty liquor bottle was found near the spot, and blood was found at a few spots on the trail leading to the colony. It was also found at the start of the trail near the colony, which is about half a kilometre away from the crime spot. However, the girl’s clothes have not been found.
Police said that the crime scene was then “disrupted” due to a law-and-order situation, and the body was forcibly taken by the police around 12.45 pm.
“A post-mortem examination was conducted by a board of doctors, but the report is not out yet. Therefore, the cause of death is yet to be ascertained. Prima facie, it seems a case of sexual assault,” said DIG AS Cheema.
Meanwhile, police sources said that the family has provided names of some suspects in the colony whose call detail records are being scrutinised.
According to the FIR, the man who took the girl away was wearing a red T-shirt. “The girl did not protest when he took her away, although she never went with a stranger. However, nobody saw the man’s face as it was dark. He was about five feet six inches tall, and healthy-looking,” said area residents, adding that the girl was wearing brown-coloured clothes.
Sources said that various persons in the colony are under the scanner, and are being questioned. Cheema said that a case of abduction under Section 365 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered with the Industrial Area police on Friday night, and the charge of murder under Section 302 has been added now. “We may add more sections depending on the post-mortem report,” he said.
After the post-mortem, the body was handed over to the relatives and the last rites were conducted at the cremation ground in Sector 25.