Kakinada: Seven-year-old Surada Deepthi Sree Ishani, who has been missing from her school in Kakinada since Friday, was found dead on Monday afternoon. The body was found packed in a plastic bag, in a drain near Indrapalem in Kakinada of East Godavari district.

Adnan Naim Asmi, Superintendent of Police, East Godavari, said that Deepthi’s stepmother S Shantha Kumari had strangled Deepthi with a rope. Shantha then packed the body in a plastic bag and threw it into Upputeru, a waterbody in Kakinada.

“While Shantha didn’t admit to the crime initially, after further interrogation, she confessed to murdering her. She said that she used to torture Deepthi and killed her out of jealousy,” added Adnan Asmi.

CCTV footages from various locations helped the police to investigate the case. Their investigation revealed that Shantha committed the murder alone.

Deepthi was a class II student of Nethaji Municipal School at Turangi area on the outskirts of Kakinada Town in East Godavari district. CCTV footages show that on Friday afternoon Shantha came to the school during lunch hour. She took Deepthi, who was playing near the school and went away somewhere.

Deepthi’s father S Shyam Kumar, who went to the school on Friday evening to pick her up, learnt that his daughter went missing. Kumar lodged a complaint with One-Town police station at Kakinada Town after Shyam, along with his relatives, failed to find the missing girl. Deepthi was Shyam’s daughter from his first wife who died a couple of years ago.

The police formed three teams and roped in Dhamadi Satyam, who retrieved the sunken Royal Vasishta boat from River Godavari, to trace missing girl in the waters. However, they failed to locate the girl on Sunday. Satyam’s team found Deepthi’s body on Monday afternoon. The police added that they have shifted the body to the morgue for autopsy and arrested Shantha Kumari for killing Deepthi.

Sources said that Shantha had given birth to a boy around a year ago. She believes that her husband Shyam has been giving Deepthi priority. Suspecting that her husband will give his assets to Deepthi, instead of her son, Shantha killed the girl and threw her body in the waters. Shyam’s sister Swathi and his mother Babi mentioned that Shantha Kumari had been harassing Deepthi for the past few years.

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