An Indian businessman and his domestic servant have confessed to sexually assaulting and killing at least 15 children and women over the past two years, police said today.
Police recovered 15 skulls from the backyard of the house in Noida, a township east of New Delhi, as well as parts and bones from an undetermined number of bodies. The search was continuing today.
Noida police chief R.K.S. Rathore said businessman Mohinder Singh Pandher, who owned the house, and his servant, referred to as Satish, had confessed to sexually abusing and killing at least 10 children and five women.
Rathore said Pandher was fond of "illegal relations", a reference to sex with children and prostitutes.
Satish lured children to the house with the promise of chocolates and toys, Rathore said. Women were offered jobs, he said.
Earlier, a police officer said that Satish confessed to beheading the victims after they were sexually assaulted. He then dumped their body parts either in the backyard or into a sewage drain in front of it, said the officer, who didn't want to be named because he was not authorised to speak to journalists.
Plastic bags containing bones, bracelets and clothes were discovered as police dug up the drain.
The recovery heightened fears that the accused could have killed more children, said Ramesh Bharatiya, a police officer on the scene.
Local residents said 38 children had gone missing in recent years from the neighbourhood around the house.
Satish was traced after he started using a missing girl's mobile phone, and when police went to his house, they were tipped off by the smell of decomposing corpses, Rathore said.
Residents of Noida blamed police for not acting on complaints about missing children.
"We told police that we suspected this man, but they repeatedly ignored our complaints," said Kuldeep Kumar, whose four-year-old nephew has been missing since February 23.
Most of the missing children belonged to impoverished families, living in a slum nearby.
"We are poor people. We can't go to the police station every day," Kumar said.
Anger among local residents exploded as some demanded the alleged killer be handed over to them. "We will kill him," said Kamlesh who goes by one name, whose eight-year-old daughter has been missing since July. "We will cut him into pieces."
The two men appeared before a local court today charged with rape, murder and kidnapping and were remanded into police custody for another two days, Rathore said.