The railway police in India’s Maharashtra arrested a couple traveling with the dead body of their 16-month-old daughter, who had allegedly been sexually assaulted and strangled to death by the child’s father, authorities said on Friday, Jan. 7.

According to the police, the accused duo was arrested Thursday at Solapur station in the state, from a train bound to Gujarat, a state on the western coast of the country.

The couple had reportedly boarded the train from Secunderabad in the Telangana state and were traveling to their hometown in Rajkot, Gujarat, where they had planned to dispose of the toddler’s body, the Times of India reported.

According to reports, fellow passengers in the train got suspicious after noticing the child hadn’t shown any signs of movement during the journey.

"The fellow passengers then informed the ticket examiner on the train, and subsequently, the railway police at Solapur station were also alerted," said Ganesh Shinde, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), (Railway police).

When the train reached Solapur railway station, the duo was made to disembark, the ASP said.

A preliminary investigation revealed, the child’s 26-year-old father, who is yet to be identified by the police, had sexually assaulted the girl before strangling her to death on Jan. 3 at their home in Secunderabad.

The woman had reportedly helped her husband in the gruesome crime, according to police.

"Following a medical check-up, the toddler was announced dead. It was revealed that the father had strangled her to death after sexually assaulting her. The mother had also helped him in the crime. The family then boarded the Rajkot-bound train, as they wanted to dispose of the body at their native place," Shinde said.

A case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) has been registered against the couple at Solapur railway police station, the official added.

This is an ongoing investigation and no further details including the identities of the suspects were available at the time of this writing.

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