Police in India are reexamining the case of a man who is charged with raping and impregnating his 10-year-old niece after DNA tests ruled him out as the baby's father.
The 10-year-old gave birth to a baby girl in August after the Supreme Court denied her mother's request to terminate the pregnancy, the Hindustan Times reports.
National media began covering the case when the girl was 30 weeks pregnant. Prior to that, she did not know about the pregnancy, having been told that the bulge was due to a stone in her stomach, according to the BBC.
Her uncle, who is in his 40s, was arrested on July 14 after the girl told police that he had raped her several times over a period of seven months. He has been in prison ever since, awaiting trial in a special court that handles crimes against children.
A criminal complaint states that the girl was "repeatedly raped" by her maternal uncle while her parents were at work. The uncle worked as a security guard at night, which meant he was free during the daytime when the girl's parents were out of the house.
The girl's father told the BBC that the uncle did not deny raping the girl, while police indicated to the news station that he had confirmed that the allegations were true.
"So far no-one had thought of any other possibility," an official close to the investigation told the BBC. "The girl had testified to the court on video conferencing and in her statement, she had very clearly named the uncle and revealed facts about her abuse."
But on Sept. 12, the news media reported that the uncle's DNA wasn't a fit in the case. The news was confirmed that day by the uncle's attorney, Manjeet Singh.
"At this moment, I can only say that the DNA of the accused does not match that of the newborn," Singh said following a hearing in court.
The twist complicates the investigation, as police will now have to reopen the case to determine whether the girl had been sexually abused by more than one person. They visited the family's home and spoke to the 10-year-old again on Sept. 12.
Police will also request that the DNA be retested to make sure that a lab error had not been made.
During the trial it was revealed that the 10-year-old's mother attempted to have the pregnancy aborted, but doctors refused. She then filed a plea with a local court, but the plea was rejected after a panel of medical experts indicated that an abortion would be "too risky," according to the BBC.
The girl was forced to carry the baby to term after the Supreme Court affirmed the local court's decision.
The baby is now in the care of child services and will eventually be put up for adoption.
Sources: Hindustan Times, BBC / Featured Image: Pixabay / Embedded Images: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability/Flickr, Pexels