CHENNAI: Unknown assailants murdered a young girl and dumped her half-burned body in a sack in the southwestern suburb of Guduvanchery on Sunday.

Passersby found the girl on Mahalakshmi Street in the morning after they shooed away a pack of stray dogs that was trying to tear apart the sack, which had a foul and burned smell, near a nursery school in the locality.

They alerted the police.

“She appears to be around eight years old. The body was naked and partially burned,” an investigating officer said. “Her assailants appear to have mutilated her face in an attempt to conceal her identity.”

“We suspect that the killers could have sexually abused the girl, but a postmortem will have to confirm that,” he said.

Police sent the body for autopsy to Chengalpet Government Hospital. They think the girl was murdered elsewhere and dumped it in what is a bustling residential locality.

They are yet to establish the identity of the victim and are looking into missing persons complaints in police stations across the city. Investigators have also sent photographs of the girl’s face and her half-burned body to other police stations in an attempt to establish her identity.

Investigations indicated that the killers strangled the girl, who had ligature marks on her neck, with a cord.

“We are awaiting the autopsy report to verify the cause of death,” the officer said.

“Only after establishing the identity, we can proceed with the case and determine the motive for the crime,” he said. “It is unlikely that she was from Guduvanchery because the local police have not recorded any missing person complaint in the recent past.”

Locals told police that they did not see anyone dump the sack or strangers moving around suspiciously in the locality.

The Kancheepuram police have registered a case under IPC Section 302 (murder).

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Source: TOI-Che