Police announced on Tuesday they have arrested the suspected rapist and murderer of a nine-year-old girl who was found dead in a graveyard in Nowshera's Nawa Kalay area last week.
The girl had reportedly gone missing on December 27 after she went to a nearby house for learning Quran. She was found dead in an open grave near Khesghi Road the next day. Her body carried various torture marks, including head wounds. An autopsy later confirmed she had been sexually assaulted before she was killed.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Mardan Muhammad Ali Khan announced the prime suspect's arrest in a press conference earlier today. The suspect, a 21-year-old man, was arrested after his DNA sample matched with samples taken from the crime scene, the police official informed.
The suspect is a friend of the victim's father, the DIG said.
He added that at least 20 suspects had been interrogated in connection with the case, and over 200 DNA samples taken to trace the killer.
The case is one of the numerous incidents of child abuse and murder that have been highlighted in the media after the rape and murder cases of two minors — Aasma and Zainab — early last year sparked widespread condemnation as well as calls to address the issue of child sexual abuse.
As many as 11 cases of child sexual abuse are reported from across Pakistan every day, according to data collected by non-governmental organisation Sahil.