A woman in India allegedly locked her 9-year-old stepdaughter inside a box for over six hours and then filed a missing report afterward, police said Tuesday.
Following a complaint filed by the victim’s father at Nagar Kotwali police station, the 40-year-old woman, identified as Shilpi, now faces an attempted murder charge under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), The Times of India reported, citing inspector Raghuraj Singh.
Police said the victim, identified as Radhika, was reported missing Sunday at around 6 p.m. by her stepmother, who is five months pregnant.
Shilpi claimed that Radhika did not come back home from the shop.
“When we scanned the CCTV footage of the area, we saw the girl reaching home from the shop which made us suspicious,” said senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vineet Jaiswal.
Jaiswal, along with a police team, went to the family’s house in the Krishnapuri area in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district.
After searching for an hour and a half, the officers found the girl unconscious inside a box.
“The girl was immediately taken to a nearby hospital. She is fine now,” said the SSP.
The girl later told the police that her stepmother put and locked her inside the box, according to Jaiswal.
“Radhika’s father, Sonu Sharma – a factory worker, married Shilpi a year ago after getting a divorce from his first wife. Radhika was then adopted by Sonu’s elder brother Sunil and was living with them,” a neighbor of the victim said, according to the Times of India.
“We are trying to ascertain the reason behind the crime. Further probe is on,” said inspector Singh.
The stepmother has yet to be arrested and remains at large, police said.
Meanwhile, an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker in Kerala, India, was arrested earlier this year for allegedly physically abusing her 11-year-old stepdaughter, according to an August report by The Hindu.
According to the panchayat member representing the ward, the incident became known after the girl told her friends at school about the alleged beating by the accused.
“Students shared it with their parents who in turn alerted the school. The school authorities contacted Childline, which informed the police. The child reportedly had marks on her body suggesting abuse,” he said.
The accused was booked for IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt using dangerous weapons) and relevant sections of the Juvenile Justice Act.