In a tragic incident, a three-year-old boy suffocated to death in a car parked outside his home, while his cousin, a two-year-old girl, was rescued as she was gasping for breath almost 24 hours after the children had gone missing.
The police have registered a case of accidental death.
The incident occurred in the Hanuman temple area of Kamothe village in Navi Mumbai. The deceased has been identified as Raj Petkar. His cousin, Sakshi Gondhali, is recuperating from the shock.
According to KT Vidhate, senior police inspector of Kalamboli police station, "The kids were playing near their house in the village on Monday morning. They were reported missing at around 10.30am. Their parents and other residents searched all day but could not find them.
"A missing complaint was registering with us later in the evening and we too joined the all-night search along with the residents."
The search ended on Tuesday morning. "At around 10am, Atul Patil, a local villager and owner of an Indica car parked near the deceased's house outside Hanuman temple, came for his vehicle. On opening the car door, he found the kids inside. While Raj was dead, Sakshi was in a state of shock," Vidhate said.
"The car had been parked at the spot a day earlier at 10am. The door was not locked and the kids seem to have entered the vehicle while playing. They got locked from inside and the postmortem report confirms that Raj suffocated to death," the police officer said.
The village has been rattled by the incident with the locals unable to fathom why they did not hear the cries of the children. A police sniffer dog was brought to the spot after the mishap. Police do not suspect foul play.