Police in India announce finding the bodies of three young girls, declared missing from their village on Valentine's day.
The girls have been brutally raped and murdered, and their remains have been uncovered on the bottom of a well, in Bhandara district, Maharashtra state. A local discovered the bodies hidden in the well, on a farmhouse located 1 km (0.62 miles) outside their home village.
According to The Hindu, the victims were sisters, aged 11, 8, and 6. News of the killing prompted a 6-hour protest which closed down the National Highway, with villagers seeking justice and the girls' mother asking for her daughters' slayer to receive the capital punishment.
Residents of neighboring villages, including Murmadi and Lakhani took to public demonstrations in order to force law enforcement officials into investigating the case.
Police have initially dubbed the deaths accidents, and the family is complaining about their negligence in handling the case.
Inspector General (IG) of Police, Nagpur Range, Rajendra Singh has relayed the findings of their post-mortem examination, confirming the rapes.
“The report is not clear on how they were killed,” he says.
He also mentions that officers have been dispatched to handle the case and a massive manhunt for the killer has been launched.
"We have checked out 100 to 150 people and interrogated 10 to 15," he adds.
The girls came from an impoverished household, with their father dying five years ago. They were being raised by their grandparents and their mother, who was at work at the time they vanished.
Their grandfather declared them missing when only their schoolbags were recovered after school.
Witness reports, relayed by Mstarz, inform that they have last been seen at a dhaba, or diner located on the outskirts of town, by the freeway. They had left classes looking for food, presumably with the intention to return.