The body of a 12-year-old girl, who went missing on February 25, was found buried in a pit on Tuesday evening in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district, reported NDTV. A villager, who lives near the pit, has been arrested from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.

“It seems the girl has been murdered,” Bulandshahr District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar said. “One cannot deny the possibility of sexual assault too. We will take the strictest possible action.”

The Bulandshahr Police said that the girl, who lived in Siraura village, was working in a field with her family on February 25 when she felt thirsty. The girl told them she was going back home to drink water.

“When she did not return, her sisters called out for her, but there was no response,” Bulandshahr Police chief Santosh Kumar Singh said. “The family assumed she had gone home and went back to home. However, they did not find her there and started searching for her.”

Singh said that the family filed a complaint on February 28. “She was working in the fields with her mother and two sisters about 100 metres from the house where her body was recovered,” he added.

The police officer said that when the family member of the minor went back to the field in the evening, they found a man who was drunk. “They kept on searching for her for two-three days before going to the police on February 28,” he added.

The father of the girl has alleged that his daughter was raped by the drunk man, who then killed her and buried her body, according to India Today. He said that his daughter had speech impairments and used to stammer.

Singh said during the search operation, they found a spot where it seemed a pit had been dug. When the spot was excavated, the body of the missing girl was found, he said. “We are carrying out further investigation,” the police chief added. “This house belongs to a father-son duo. The father is in our custody, while the son is on the run.”

The arrested man has been identified as 22-year-old Harendra. He works as a labourer in Delhi and claimed he was at home the evening the girl disappeared.

The district magistrate has said that compensation will be given to the girl’s family.

Many cases of crime against underage girls have been reported from Uttar Pradesh recently. On March 1, the body of a 16-year-old girl was found in a field in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district. The incident came almost two weeks after three girls, all related to each other, were found poisoned in Unnao district on February 17. Two of them had died.