Dechen Tshomo

Police and experts from the forestry department visited the site where the nine-year-old girl was found for physical examination and further investigation yesterday.

Chief of Thimphu forest division, Gyeltshen Drukpa said they were trying to ascertain if animal attack was the cause of the death.

“There were two big punctured marks on the girl’s neck.” He said that usually, big cats like leopards first attack the neck, biting the throat to suffocate the prey.

“Looking at the wounds at the thigh and other soft parts of the body, it looks like an attack by an animal belonging to the cat family. It appears the body was later attacked by dogs too.”

When the officials were combing the area for any leads, they found two big stray dogs which the residents said were not from the area.

Officials found a small piece of fabric stuck on the barbed wire fence above the road that looks similar to that of the girl’s jacket. It was handed over to the forensics to confirm if it was from the girl’s jacket. “The fence was too low for any human to pass through.”

He said it was difficult to trace paw prints in the dry season. “It is difficult to even trace a dog’s paw prints.”

He said that one of the girl’s shoes was found about two-three metres away from the body towards the barbed wire fence.

Big cats are strong and they drag the prey only if it is double the weight of the animal, otherwise, it can easily carry its prey, the chief forestry officer said.

Police also found that body partially covered with twigs and dry leaves. Gyaltshen Drukpa said animals like leopards hide their carcass when they are interrupted.

The forest officials installed two camera traps in the area to see if there are any wild animals in the area. “We will check after a few days if any animal was captured in the camera,” he said.

A police official said the national referral hospital’s forensic unit did not find the presence of sperm cell in the body of the nine-year-old girl found in Dechenchholing on December 11.

According to the police, the swab tested negative.

Two days after the girl went missing, her body was found below a small cliff, under a canopy of bushes above the three tanks in Dechenchholing in Thimphu.

During the investigation, police found fang marks on the neck, and the body had marks similar to animal bites. Police suspected an attack by a wild animal which is why forest officials were approached for help.