The body of a four-year-old girl was found in a nullah [drain] in the Khattak Colony area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kohat district, police officials said on Thursday.

The girl went missing a day earlier and a first information report (FIR) was registered in connection with her disappearance on the complaint of her grandfather, police said. Relatives of the girl and policemen searched for her through the night, they added.

On Thursday, her body was found in a drain in the area. It was retrieved and sent to the KDA divisional headquarters hospital.

Police officials said that a case was registered in connection with the murder and an investigation was underway.

Meanwhile, the victim’s family and residents of the area held a protest on University Road, Kohat, demanding that they be provided justice. The family of the four-year-old claimed that she had been sexually assaulted.

On the other hand, police officials said while they suspected the minor girl was assaulted, it had not yet been confirmed through a medical report.

District Police Officer (DPO) Sohail Khalid confirmed to that police had not yet received the medical report. The report would clarify whether the girl had been assaulted or not, he added.

Khalid said that “dozens of suspects have been taken into custody and their samples sent for DNA testing.”

Last year, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa registered 182 cases of child sexual abuse during the first eight months, according to police data. Four of those cases were related to murder after assault.

The four cases of murder after assault were reported in Mardan, Nowshera, Mansehra, and Kohat.