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‘Sat on roof next to where our son’s body was, saw nothing suspicious’: Family of missing Ghaziabad boy found on neighbour’s terrace

The family of Mohammad Zaid spent the 18 months he was missing looking for him, even negotiating with an alleged kidnapper. However, the boy’s body was found in a wooden chest on their neighbour’s terrace.

delhi Updated: Jun 05, 2018 09:50 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
Ghaziabad,Boy's body found on terrace,Boy's body found in wooden chest
Parents of four-year-old Mohammad Zaid hold up a photograph of him after his body was found inside a wooden chest on the rooftop of their neighbour's house in Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, on June 4, 2018. (Sakib Ali / HT Photo)

The family of Mohammad Zaid searched for the missing toddler, unaware for 18 months that his body lay just metres from their house.

On Sunday, the partially decomposed body of Mohammad Zaid, who had gone missing from the Shamshad Garden locality in Sahibabad on December 1, 2016, was recovered from inside a wooden chest kept on the rooftop of his neighbour’s house. Neighbours told the police on Sunday that they had never noticed any foul stench emanating from the box.

While an FIR for kidnapping was lodged a day after the 4-and-a-half-year-old boy went missing, the family’s search had been futile. Police arrested a man who claimed to be the boy’s kidnapper red-handed while accepting money from victim’s father on December 17, 2016. Another man was arrested two days later.

One of the investigating officers who asked not to be named said there was a possibility that two men had started calling the boy’s father for ransom after they found out the boy had gone missing.

“For these 18 months, I kept assuring myself that my son is alive. He was found on Sunday — but dead. The body has signs of decomposition but we never got any foul smell. Sometimes, we go and sit at our rooftop, which is right next to our neighbour’s, but we never noticed anything suspicious,” the boy’s father Nazar Mohammad said.

“We had no inkling that the boy’s body was in the house next to his own... His mother was living in hope that her son would be found one day,” said Rizwana, a resident of the area.

“The roof of the single room on the terrace cannot be accessed through my house. Someone has to use a ladder to climb into the room. The room on the first floor is vacant and I stay with my wife and two children on the ground floor. The discovery of the body is very shocking to me and my family as it was lying barely 20 feet over my house. Neither my family nor our neighbours ever got any foul smell. Above all, we never went to the rooftop,” said the victim’s neighbour Momeen, on whose rooftop the body was found.

The boy’s family members said they now suspect that only a “known person” could have placed the body there as the perpetrator “had to know that there was a wooden chest on the rooftop”.

Momeen’s house is adjacent to the boy’s house, while it is surrounded by vacant plots on other sides.

Dr Rakesh Mishr, circle officer, Sahibabad, said, “It is possible that the child was kept in the wooden chest after he went missing. It was peak winter season. Above all, he was also wearing woollen clothes and hence the smell of decomposition did not move out much.”

First Published: Jun 05, 2018 09:46 IST