A 4-year-old Indian boy was reportedly beheaded Wednesday in a ritual in a southern coastal region of the country in what was believed to be an offering to a deity.

The New Indian Express reported that the boy had been studying when he was kidnapped in the Prakasam district. The family grew alarmed when the boy, named L. Manusagar, failed to return home that afternoon.

A friend of the boy told his mother that he was taken by a man named Tirumala Rao, the report said. The mother arrived at the man’s house and reportedly found the body of her son in an otherwise empty home. He was decapitated and the report described a “utensil” that was filled with blood. The paper said it appeared to be an offering to a deity.

The villagers learned about the killing by the screams of the mother and were reportedly irate. They located the suspect, tied him up and set him on fire, the report said. He was rescued by police and taken to a local hospital in critical condition.