New York Police have charged a step-mother with murder after a nine-year-old Indian girl was found dead at home under mysterious circumstances.
Ashdeep Kaur was found in a bathtub with bruises on her body after she was seen going into the bathroom with her step-mother, Arjun Samdhi Pardas.
The 55-year-old is suspected of strangling Ashdeep on Friday, the New York Post quoted sources as saying.
Ashdeep moved to Queens from India three months ago. She lived in an apartment with her father Sukhjinder Singh and Pardas that was shared with another couple. Her mother, who is divorced from her father, still lives in India.
A housemate had apparently seen Pardas take Ashdeep into the bathroom, and later come out alone. She then left the building.
Pardas allegedly told the housemate that Ashdeep was taking a bath. But when Ashdeep did not come out for a while, the housemate checked on her only to discover her body. The bathtub had not been filled with water either.
Pardas, who was missing immediately after the body was discovered, was found by police several hours later at another location in Queens.
Ashdeep’s relatives have alleged that the girl had earlier complained of abuse by Pardas while her father worked at a local restaurant.
“She always told me she does not like to be with her stepmother. Sometimes she got beatings from her,” Ashdeep’s uncle Manjinder Singh said in a report. “Sometimes she grabbed her, threw her on the bed.”
Another uncle, Mandinna Singh told the New York Daily News of a similar account of abuse.