Pathanamthitta: A 23-year-old man was arrested after the death of his stepdaughter, aged 5, at Kaleekkalpady near Kumbazha in the district on Monday.
The girl’s body bore multiple slash injuries, raising suspicion that the child had been brutally tortured.
The arrested man was heavily intoxicated with alcohol and cannabis. Investigators would question him for more details once he is sober.
The girl was the eldest daughter of a couple from Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu. Her mother and stepfather have been living with her grandmother here.
The grandmother had gone to Tamil Nadu to cast her vote, forcing the mother to leave the child with the stepfather whenever she went to work. The deceased girl’s younger sister is in Tamil Nadu.
The mother on returning from a house at Mylapra where she was working, found the girl injured and unconscious, with the stepfather sleeping nearby at their rented accommodation. When enquired, the man tried to assault the woman. The girl died though the woman took her to the General Hospital.
Authorities who inspected the body found scars of earlier torture on the girl’s chest and back. Police are probing if the child was sexually abused.
The man had been an idler and alcoholic. Police have confiscated ganja from the house. Police had to use force when the accused tried to flee from custody.