A five-year-old girl’s body, stuffed in a gunny bag, was found on a staircase of a seven-storey building at Nehru Nagar in Kurla on Tuesday morning.
The police suspect that the girl, who lives in nearby Vatsala Nagar Chawl, was raped. “We have sent the body for post-mortem to check if she was raped and then murdered,” said Senior Police Inspector Prakash Kale, of the Nehru Nagar police station.
Children going to the terrace of the SRA building to play found the gunny bag and opened it out of curiosity.
“When they saw the body, the children panicked and started screaming. The building residents rushed to the terrace to see what had scared them,” said Dilip Sawant, deputy commissioner of police zone VI.
The body was covered in blood and her mouth was gagged.
“It appears as if she was strangled and her head was banged against a wall,” said Sawant.
The victim was last seen playing outside her house at 8.30 pm on Monday, when her mother was busy in the kitchen.
Her parents realised that she was missing at 10 pm, when her father, who works at a shoe-making factory, returned home.
They enquired about her with neighbours and friends, but did not find her. They then sought the police’s help.
The girl’s father claims that the culprit is not a stranger, but someone known to them.
“My daughter never went with any stranger. She might have gone with him because she must have known him,” said the 34-year-old.
Locals said this was the third such incident in the last one year in their area.
“Last year, a seven-year-old had gone missing and was never found. Six months ago, a six-year-old girl was found raped and murdered,” said Ahmed Hussain (45), a resident of the Vatsala Naik chawl.