Police in India have launched a massive manhunt to find the men who raped and killed three sisters, all under the age of 11 in the western region of the country.
According to the International Business Times, the girls — ages 6, 9 and 11 — were first reported missing on February 14 when they failed to return home from their school in Maharashtra.
Two days after their disappearance, a villager discovered the bodies of the three sisters in an old well less than a mile away from their village.
India’s police first dismissed the girls’ deaths as accidental, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
It wasn’t until the mother of the children rallied together with villagers in protest against the police’s actions that officials finally took notice and ordered a full investigation.
“The first day when we filed the complaint [about the girls' disappearance], the police didn’t act on it. Had they looked for the girls, my girls would have been found. This is nothing but negligence,” said the mother, whose identity was withheld in accordance with Indian laws protecting the victims and families in sexual assault cases.
Upon examining the bodies of the girls, police found they had been sexually assaulted prior to their deaths.
In light of their findings, the central government has launched a manhunt for the girls’ killers and has asked to be informed about any new developments in the case
ABC News notes that the manhunt conducted by the police consists of 30 investigators who are searching for the murderers.
A reward of around $900 has been offered for information leading to their arrests.
The Times Now has more on the tragic killings of the three Indian sisters in the video below: