Two teenage girls in India were gang-raped, killed and found hanging from a tree, and officials said Thursday that at least two of the suspects are police officers.
The bodies of the girls, ages 14 and 15, were found early Wednesday near their home in Katra village in Budaun, Uttar Pradesh state, after they had gone missing, police said.
Villagers who were upset by the police response reportedly blocked roads and refused to allow authorities to remove the bodies from the tree for hours, until charges of rape and murder were registered against several men. The local police chief had allegedly ignored a report Tuesday indicating that the girls were missing, villagers said.
The girls apparently had left their home, where there was no toilet, to relieve themselves. Relatives said they began looking for the girls soon after they went outside.
Police arrested two officers and two men from the village and were searching for more suspects.
Autopsies confirmed that the girls had been raped and strangled before the hanging, police Supt. Atul Saxena said, according to the Associated Press.
The station chief in Katra, 180 miles northwest of the state capital, Lucknow, was suspended, the news service reported.
India last year passed anti-rape legislation in response to public anger over the fatal gang rape in December 2012 of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student.
Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, told reporters, "Whoever is found guilty will be punished."
Yadav's father and Uttar Pradesh's former chief minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, recently said that the state's governing party opposed capital punishment for rapists and that "boys will be boys. They are bound to commit mistakes."