3 girls found dead in India well; mother calls for culprits to be hanged
February 21, 2013 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Indian students in a One Billion Rising rally in New Delhi on February 14, 2013.
- NEW: Four people are being questioned in the case, the district police chief says
- The bodies of three girls aged 6, 9 and 11 are found at the bottom of a well
- Police say initial medical reports suggest the girls were sexually assaulted
- The girls' mother says police should have acted more quickly
New Delhi (CNN) -- The mother of three girls who were found dead at the bottom of a well in western India after they were allegedly raped has called for those responsible to be caught and publicly hanged.
The bodies of the three girls -- aged 6, 9 and 11 -- were found in the well in Bhandara district in Maharashtra state on Saturday, police said.
They were reported missing two days earlier, said A.R. Tiwari, a local police inspector.
The shocking news comes as India is still reeling from the horrific case in New Delhi in which five men and a juvenile are accused of gang raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in December. The five men are currently on trial.
Opinion: India can learn respect for women
India rape case drags on
Report: India has failed its children
'Slumdog' star weighs in on gang rape
Preliminary medical reports suggest the girls drowned, and that they had been sexually assaulted, Tiwari said.
Four people are being questioned in connection with the assault, district police chief Arti Singh told CNN Thursday. No one has yet been arrested.
A local police officer in charge of the area where the incident took place has been suspended and replaced by Tiwari, she said.
In an interview with CNN affiliate IBN Thursday, the victims' mother said police didn't respond quickly enough to the girls' disappearance.
Challenges of being a woman in India
"Had the police searched for the girls in the neighboring areas, then they would have been found," said the woman, whose identity was withheld in accordance with Indian laws protecting the victims and families in sexual assault cases.
But police denied her allegations.
"We acted promptly," Tiwari said. "Wireless messages were issued the same day and police teams fanned out to find the girls."
The mother is nonetheless urging police to catch those responsible quickly.
"I appeal to the government to capture the culprits and hang them in public," she said.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.