MUMBAI: The body of a seven-year- old girl who had gone missing on Monday evening was found in a marsh in Malwani, Malad (W) just past midnight on Tuesday.
Bruises around the girl’s genitals and neck suggested she had been raped and murdered, the Malwani police said. They have registered a case under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Indian Penal Code.
The girl lived with her maternal grandparents near INS Hamla, while her parents live in Madh. Her grandparents told the police that she would return home after playtime at 5pm every day, but didn’t turn up on Monday.
Hours after she went missing, they began asking other residents if they had seen her. Neighbours helped the elderly couple look for the girl but their efforts were in vain. They eventually approached the police, who registered a case of kidnapping and dispatched teams to scour the neighbourhood.
At 12.40 am, one of the police teams and local residents found the girl’s body in a marshy area barely 500 metres from her grandparents’ home, an official said.
“There were injury marks on her private parts and her neck. Prima facie, it appears that she was raped and then strangulated before her body was dumped in the marsh,” said an officer from Malwani police station, who did not wish to be named.
The police said it is possible the girl knew her assailant, who is yet to be identified.
A post mortem was conducted on Tuesday afternoon.