A 15-year-old boy is a prime suspect in the gruesome murder of a nine-year-old girl in Maragua, Murang’a County.

Police, who are holding the Standard Six pupil at Maragua Police Station, believe the teenager killed Purity Njeri Chege in Ihiga-ini village.

Murang’a DCI boss Judy Muthini said the incident was reported on Sunday by the girl’s father, Mr John Chege Marubu, who found his daughter’s body in the boy’s family land.

Chege told police that his daughter and the suspect were last seen picking avocados at around 9 am in the boy’s family farm.

After about an hour, the boy delivered avocados to the girl’s home and informed her family that he could not find her.

The girl’s father went looking in the farm only to discover a freshly dug pit with his daughter’s body wrapped in a gunny bag.

“The body was found at around 10am half-buried in a pit measuring two by three feet in the boy’s family land,” said the police boss.

“He was arrested and locked up in Maragua Police Station awaiting further investigations and interrogation,” added Ms Muthini.

A postmortem conducted on Monday showed that girl died of manual strangulation as she had bruises on the neck.

“The post-mortem examination indicates that the girl died of lack of oxygen in the brain, most probable cause being manual strangulation,” Ms Muthini said.

The autopsy ruled out rape, with detectives saying the girl did not have any sexual assault injuries.

The deceased’s mother, Mary Wairimu, told the Nation that her daughter was in a good mood on the fateful morning. She said she would not pass judgement on the suspect.

“I am content to wait for the process to take its own cause, but praying for both my family and that of the arrested boy that we all be strengthened to cope with the turn of events,” she said.