Kerala was in shock when seven-year-old Devananda, whose body was found in a river, was laid to rest at Kudavattoor in the Kollam district of Kerala near her father's house in Kudavattoor. Many visited to pay their last respects to the child.

Representational image
Representational image

The incident

Devananda's father Pradeep Kumar reached home on Friday morning as he works abroad. The girl's family and other residents found something fishy as her body was found in the river near her house and they had combed the area intensively.

A resident said that the same spot was searched several times by the investigation team on Thursday and recovered nothing. But suddenly the body emerged in the same area and this certainly pointed towards foul play.

The police, however, have something else to say. Police sources stated that they rule out suspicion in the incident and details could only be given following the postmortem procedure.

Sources added that the girl went missing on Thursday morning while her mother was outside her home washing clothes. Dhanya, her mother, stated that she had asked Devananda to keep an eye on her infant baby brother as he slept inside.

After Dhanya finished washing clothes and returned home, the front door was found open and the girl was missing from the house. Dhanya immediately told the neighbours and a search was carried out before the police were informed.

Investigation underway

In order to track the child, an intensive search was launched by the police with a 50-member special investigation team. Despite an integrated effort put in by the police, along with a dog squad, diving experts and fire and safety team, Devananda could not be traced.

As police suspected kidnapping; vehicle checks were carried out; putting all major roads, railway stations and bus stands under surveillance in the Kollam district.

The police suspect that the child must have slipped accidentally into the water as she must have ventured out of her house unattended. She was recovered wearing the same clothes that she had worn on the day she went missing. Her body has been taken to Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, for autopsy.