The four-year-old girl, who was killed in Chottanikkara on Tuesday evening, was bashed to death, police officials have said. The preliminary post-mortem that was held here on Thursday showed the child was bashed in the head several times. The head injuries probably caused her death, the police said

“There were three severe injuries to the head behind the left ear. Her left wrist was broken. There is no evidence to show that any weapon was used,” said a police official.

The girl’s mother Rani, her lover Rejith, and his friend Basil had been arrested in connection with the case on Wednesday. They allegedly killed the girl, Aksa, on Tuesday evening and buried the body at a work site at Arakkunnam, near Piravom, using an earthmover. The case came to light after Rani approached the police on Wednesday morning to report that her child had gone missing.

The police questioned her further and arrested her after they noticed inconsistencies in her statement. They suspect that the child had been murdered as she was seen as an obstacle to Rani’s relationship with Rejith.

The police said the post-mortem did not find any evidence to prove that the girl had been sexually abused. The post-mortem report will be prepared later by a team of doctors from Alappuzha Medical College. “The police will now focus on collecting more evidence to corroborate our findings,” said an officer.

The girl’s body was cremated at Irumpanam at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The funeral rites had to be carried out by the panchayat as the girl’s relatives did not come forward to claim her body.

“The child’s maternal grandfather wrote to the panchayat to say that he was unable to claim the body. So the panchayat stepped in to carry out the funeral rites,” said panchayat member Ramani Janakan.

The girl’s grandfather told the panchayat that he was poor and unable to afford the ceremonies. His landlord had also asked him to move out within three days after Rani was arrested in the case, he told the panchayat.

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