A 15-year-old second cousin of the four-year-old Mardan girl found dead in a field in January was arrested by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police for his suspected involvement in the alleged rape and murder of the minor.
Inspector General (IG) Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Salahuddin Mehsud said the suspect has confessed to his crimes.
Speaking to the media in Peshawar, the IG KP said that the suspect in the “blind case” was traced using DNA samples obtained from a single drop of blood found on a leaf near the crime scene.
The IG claimed that it was a case of attempted rape before murder. However, a forensic report issued by the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) had earlier confirmed that the girl was raped before she was murdered.
Mardan Resident Police Officer (RPO) Alam Shinwari, speaking to the media, claimed that the suspect had attempted to rape the child but ended up suffocating her to death with his hands after she began shouting and crying.
The suspect, a daily wage labourer at a hotel, is a relative of the victim who was in the area to attend a wedding, the RPO and IG told the media. He took the child to a sugarcane field nearby her house on January 13. Her body was found there the next day.
IG KP Mehsud said that the police was under pressure and had faced a number of hindrances in solving the case, as there was no CCTV footage due to a lack of cameras in the area. However, he added, the police had not arrested any innocent people.
The only other person arrested in connection with the case was another man whose DNA matched that recovered from an artefact collected from the crime scene. However, the suspect was found to be innocent by police during an investigation and will be released soon, the police officials said.
The KP police had sought help of the PFSA which sent its report regarding the DNA samples yesterday.
The Supreme Court also took a suo moto notice of the case, placing provincial police’s performance under scrutiny.
Cases of sexual assault against minors have come under greater scrutiny in the country following the rape and murder of a six-year-old in Kasur, whose body was recovered from a trash heap in the city on January 9.