The accused has confessed to the crime, said police.
A five-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and strangled to death by a man who had just moved into their building in Kerala's Ernakulam district. The accused had dumped her body in a sack on Friday and confessed to the crime a day later, cops said.
The accused was arrested Friday night but retrieving information from him took hours since he was in an inebriated state, said police even as search operations continued overnight.
The daughter of a couple from Bihar went missing Friday evening after she was seen being taken away by the accused in a CCTV footage.
"In the CCTV footage, we found Asfaq Aslam, who is from Bihar, taking the child with him. We took him into custody at 9.30 pm. He was highly inebriated and initually not in a state to answer our questions," said Ernakulam (rural) SP Vivek Kumar.
Aslam confessed to the crime on Saturday morning and showed where he had taken the child, said the Superintendent of Police.
The accused had recently moved to the building where the girl and her family lived, said police, adding that he used garbage and sacks to cover her body after dumping it in a marshy area.
He was arrested based on the CCTV footage but interrogation was delayed as he was intoxicated.
Besides, another person had spotted the girl with the accused in a nearby market area and informed the cops about it after seeing a missing post on Facebook. "I had asked him about the child. He said she was his daughter and he was going behind the market to get himself a drink," the man had told the police, adding that he saw the child holding some candy.
Following this, the area behind the market was searched.
Meanwhile, as the search operation gained momentum through the night, social media too was flooded with information to help trace her.
The Kerala police today apologised to the girl's family on social media for failing to reunite her with them. They also rejected the opposition charges of lapses on behalf of the investigators.
"The girl went missing around 3 pm and she was sexually assaulted and killed by 5:30 pm. The parents lodged a complaint around 7:10 pm. Based on this, an FIR was registered by 8 pm and the accused was arrested by 9:30 pm. But he was too inebriated to answer any question that night. It's unfortunate that the police are being accused of a delay," Mr Kumar told NDTV.
The girl's body was later kept at her school where hundreds paid their last respects while demanding death penalty for the accused.
Speaking to NDTV, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has called for stringent action against the accused. "This is very sad and unfortunate. It is absolutely unacceptable, not just in Kerala but anywhere. They are like beasts, they don't deserved to be called humans. Crimes against women are shameful, be it anywhere," he said.
Union V Muraleedharan called it a "heinous crime" and said, "Kerala police has apologised on social media but that is not their duty. The Chief Minister calls the migrant workers - guest workers, but he should at least know the basic backgrounds. Doesn't the cops keep a record of the inter-state workers in Kerala?"