Six days after a 4-year-old girl from Kerala's Kasargod went missing, her body was recovered from a nearby river on Wednesday.
Sana Fathima, a native of Panathur in Kasargod, had gone missing on the evening of August 3, while she was playing in front of her house. With heavy rains lashing the area and her umbrella, slippers being found next to a drain in front of her house, police feared that Sana could have been washed away.
The open drain connects to the nearby Panathur river, from where, her body was recovered on Wednesday afternoon. This brought an end to search operations that were being carried out for the seventh day in a row.
Vellarikkund Circle Inspector M Sunil Kumar told TNM that Sana's body was recovered at around 2pm.
"We found the body at the Panathur river, near a place called Pavithram Kayyam, which is approximately two kilometers from Sana's house. Her body was hidden under some plants in the river, which prevented her body from floating further," the police inspector said.
Sana's body was recovered at the end of a week-long search operation, carried out jointly by the local police, the coastal police from Neeleshwaram, the disaster management team and the local residents.
CI Sunil said that Sana's body has been sent to Pariyaram Medical College for post-mortem.
On Thursday evening, Sana- daughter of Ibrahim, an autorickshaw driver, was playing outside her house after returning from her anganwadi. Her mother and grandmother who were home at the time, noticed sometime later that Sana was missing. With her umbrella being recovered from next to a drain near their house, it was suspected that she may have been washed away.
A search operation was started the same evening. Rescue personnel were deployed, who used various techniques including using scuba cameras to find Sana.
Police say that a missing case was registered and the locals claimed to have seen a few nomads in the area the day Sana went missing.
"These are people who do odd jobs and travel from one place to the other. Many locals told us that they had seen such people in the area and suspected that Sana could have been kidnapped. Although we probed that angle too, we were almost certain that the child was washed away," the CI said.
After Sana's disappearance was reported, Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights reportedly registered a suo motu case based on media reports. The Commission had expressed concern over the delay in finding the girl.