LAHORE -UNS: The autopsy examination of the seven-year-old child found dead in Kasur suggested that she had been raped and sodomized before being strangulated to death.
Zainab’s body was found in a trash heap in Kasur days after she went missing. According to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Medico Legal Officer (MLO) Dr Quratulain Attique, the post-mortem examination revealed the child had died of strangulation while her hymen was ruptured. There was also evidence to suggest that the child had been sodomized.
The examination was conducted the same day Zainab’s body was found on Tuesday. According to the MLO, there were visible marks of torture on her face and congestion in her muscles while her tongue was badly bruised and injured as it was pressed between her teeth. She added that the hyoid bone was fractured, indicating strangulation.
Also read: COMMENT: There is no hope for #JusticeForZainab
Dr Attique said an initial examination suggested she may have been dead for two to three days. Zainab went missing on January 4, suggesting that she may have been held captive by her abductors for two to four days before she was killed.
Although the MLO did not explicitly confirm that the minor was raped, findings in the autopsy suggest that she may have been sexually assaulted. There was mud, fecal matter and blood found on her body, said Dr Attique, and samples of semen, vaginal fluid and blood were collected from her body.
The samples have been sent to a lab in Lahore for testing, Dr Attique said, adding that the process of testing can take up to three months.
Dr Attique said that this is the fourth such case she has seen in the seven months she has been at DHQ Kasur. Of the four cases, only one child survived the ordeal. The findings in all the cases were similar to those in Zainab’s case.
Same person behind eight cases
According to the investigations into the rape-cum-murder case, a serial rapist-killer was behind all the eight cases reported in the district since 2015.
While the Kasur district police had been looking for the culprit, he remains at large.
The first case was reported in 2015. According to a senior police officer, the suspect was spotted by a resident of the area when he was going to assault a minor girl in an under-construction house. Nevertheless, he succeeded in escaping. The man who spotted the assailant rescued the girl and was later engaged by the police to trace the suspect. The police prepared a rudimentary sketch of the suspect with his help, making it part of the record, added the officer.
More incidents of abduction of children then surfaced. According to the police official, five girls were among those kidnapped in Kasur district. All the cases were reported with three police stations: A Division, B Division and Sadar. Three of the eight cases, including the latest one, occurred recently.
The officer said that a team of senior police officers had last year made an effort to conduct a detailed analysis of all the cases in the light of circumstantial evidences, DNA test reports, statements of the two girls who survived the assaults, the witnesses and other relevant information. The efforts were prompted in July 2017 when the case of another child’s murder after sexual abuse surfaced. The officers had reached the conclusion that a single person was behind all the cases surfacing in the district.
The investigators then found close resemblance between the man in the CCTV footage of Zainab and the culprit’s sketch available with the police. “We had started hunting for the serial killer shortly after the first case in 2015”, the police official said. “We sent reports of five DNA samples to the lab for analysis and the reports showed they belonged to the same person.”