The doctors who conducted the autopsy of an eight-year-old girl who was murdered and allegedly raped in Kathua in January told a court in Punjab’s Pathankot that the girl was sexually assaulted and she died of asphyxia, PTI reported on Sunday.

The doctors recently recorded their statement in the court of the chief judicial magistrate, said Special Public Prosecutor JK Chopra, who is representing the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s crime branch. The prosecutor said the doctors’ statement had strengthened his case. “I am very satisfied with the evidence submitted by the crime branch,” Chopra added.

A supplementary chargesheet filed by the crime branch on July 30 had said that the eight accused had overdosed the girl with sedatives, including cannabis, throughout her captivity, “rendering her incapacitated” to resist the sexual assault and murder.

The police have arrested Sanji Ram, the custodian of a temple where the girl was allegedly confined, his son Vishal and his juvenile nephew, special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma and friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu.

The girl was allegedly abducted on January 10 and killed on January 14. Her body was found near Kathua on January 17.