Police in the Indian region of Odisha are still searching for a monkey that reportedly abducted a newborn baby, which led to the child’s death.
Authorities in pursuit of the animal were said to be working with a local tribe trained especially for catching monkeys, BBC News reported Tuesday.
“We hope to catch the monkey within a week,” local officer PC Pradhan told the BBC. “While monkeys attacking humans or entering houses in search of food are fairly common, this is the first case in which one has run away with a baby.”
A relative on Sunday discovered the two-week-old baby’s body at the bottom of a well behind his home, according to the Indian Express.
The baby had been sleeping under a mosquito net at his home in Banki, Odisha, when the monkey invaded the house and took him, according to family members.
The child’s aunt told authorities that she was unable to stop the monkey from taking her nephew.
“The monkey took the baby from inside a mosquito net. It [the monkey] was spotted by Sarojini [the child’s mother], who immediately had raised an alarm, but the creature to jumped over the roof and disappeared from her view,” Rajnandini Nayak said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Authorities launched a massive search with roughly 30 forest officials before they discovered the child’s body behind his home where police believed the monkey might have dropped him.
“It seems while the monkey was jumping from the terrace my baby somehow slipped from its clutches and fell in the well,” the child’s father, identified as Rama Krushna Nayak, told the AFP.
Authorities said a villager found the newborn as she went to gather water from the well. She alerted family members who then retrieved the baby’s body from the ground.
A doctor who performed an autopsy said the baby seemed to have died from asphyxia due to drowning.
Police identified the animal accused of taking the child as a rhesus macaque, or Macaca mulatta, a species of monkey with a reddish-pink face with dusty-brown fur. The monkeys are known to attack people and cause property damage while searching for food.