Police and witnesses in India are giving different accounts about what killed a man who was suspected of raping and killing a 7-year-old girl.
Witnesses say the man was killed by a vigilante mob that kicked and beat the man death. But police are saying 35-year-old Ganiganti Suresh died after jumping from a bridge to escape authorities and that he was already dead by the time the mob got to his body.
Suresh died Friday in Eluru, a city in the Indian state Andhra Pradesh, The Sakshi Post reports.
Townspeople there had reportedly grown concerned after a young girl went missing Wednesday following a trip to a local market.
The girl's parents had filed a report with police after she failed to return home, according to a story from The Hindu.
Villagers reportedly suspected Suresh to be involved in the disappearance. On Thursday, angry townspeople reportedly broke into his home and found the body of the girl stuffed in an iron box.
Suresh was not home at the time. The mob of villagers then reportedly began searching the streets for Suresh. They are said to have confronted Suresh’s father about his son’s whereabouts and even ransacked the man’s home and shop.
Police reportedly found Suresh on Friday, hiding near a neighborhood bus stand.
Police told The Hindu that Suresh died after he jumped from a train bridge trying to escape from authorities. But witnesses told a different story.
They agreed that Suresh did jump off the railway bridge when he saw police and a group of angry villagers approaching him. But, the unnamed witnesses told The Hindu, he was only badly injured from the fall.
The policemen reached Suresh first and placed him in the back of a jeep to take him to a nearby hospital, the witnesses said, but the mob pulled him from the jeep and beat him to death.
Police maintain that Suresh died from the fall.
Authorities plan to conduct an autopsy to determine if Suresh was dead before he was allegedly attacked by the mob, according to NDTV.