MUMBAI, India – Police in India have arrested three schoolchildren, ages 12 and 13, for allegedly strangling two small boys in the hope that their deaths would cause their school to temporarily close, police said Saturday.
The three students reportedly confessed to strangling an 8-year-old boy and his 5-year-old brother so that their boarding school would close down, said S. Sethi, a police officer in the Jalna district, about 330 kilometers (200 miles) east of Mumbai.
"When questioned, the boys said they knew this school gave a holiday when a child had died last year and thought they could get another holiday this year," Sethi said.
"They looked happy when they were being sent away from school," the Mumbai-based DNA newspaper quoted investigating officer Shirish Rathod as saying. "It was as if the three had finally got the long-desired holiday."
During questioning, the boys "narrated the entire sequence of events quite vividly. It is as if they are proud of their act," Rathod said in the DNA report.
Sethi said the three lured the two brothers, both new to the school, to an isolated spot and killed them before dragging their bodies into an unused school restroom.
Authorities found the bodies of the boys after their 9-year-old sister reported them missing the next morning, Sethi said.
He said an autopsy confirmed the children had been strangled.
The case is likely to be heard by a juvenile court in October, Sethi said.
In India, people convicted of murder face a maximum sentence of 15 years and cannot be sentenced to death or life imprisonment if they were under 16 at the time of the act.