The mother of a four-year-old girl was held along with two others on charge of killing the child here on Wednesday.

Rani, 24, of Chottanikkara, allegedly killed the child with the help of her lover Rejith, 26, and his friend Basil, 19.

Police said the three persons killed Aksa, a lower kindergarten (LKG) student of JBS School near Tripunithura, on Tuesday evening. The incident came to light after Rani came to the Chottanikkara police on Wednesday morning to report that her child was missing. The police became suspicious after they noted inconsistencies in her statement. “On further questioning, she said Rejith and Basil had killed the child. We picked up the two men and recovered the body based on the statements made by the three of them,” said sub-inspector V.P. Suresh of the Chottanikkara police.

The accused allegedly kept the body on the terrace of Rani’s house at Ambadimala for a while at night. “They took the body to a work site at Arakkunnam near Piravom and buried the body there at night using an earthmover. They returned in the early hours of Wednesday to bury it in a more obscure spot on the same site,” said the officer.

The police recovered the body from the work site on Wednesday evening. The body was found buried about six feet under the earth, covered with a layer of rock and laterite soil. Rejith, the driver of the earthmover, had worked at the same site only a few days ago and knew that the land would soon be levelled, said an officer. The layer of rock also made it difficult for the police to recover the body.

Rani was divorced from her husband and was living with the child and Basil at a rented house at Ambadimala. Police said she was in a relationship with Rejith, who took the house on rent for Rani and asked his friend Basil to live there pretending to be her brother. Rejith, who is married and has a child, visited the house frequently. The accused allegedly killed the child as she was a burden on their relationship. They also suspect that the girl may have been sexually assaulted.

The post-mortem examination of the body will be conducted at Alappuzha Medical College on Wednesday. Police are unsure how the child was killed, but said that several injuries were there on the body during a primary inquest.

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