PANAJI, India – Police arrested a man on charges that he raped a 15-year-old British girl who was later found dead on a beach in southern India, officials said Monday.
Samsung D'Souza, 29, was arrested Sunday night and accused of raping Scarlett Keeling hours before her partially clothed and bruised body was found the morning Feb. 18, senior police official Bosco George said.
D'Souza has not been charged in Keeling's death, though one official said that he could face additional charges later.
Keeling had been seen at around 4 a.m. at a bar with a group of Indian men, one of whom was identified as D'Souza. An eyewitness told police he saw the suspect in a "compromising position" with Keeling, Goa police chief Kishen Kumar told reporters.
Even if the sex was consensual, police said D'Souza would still be accused of rape because Keeling was a minor. D'Souza was one of three men police held for questioning Sunday and officials say they expected to make more arrests soon.
"The same person we charged for rape can be charged for murder," Kumar told CNN-IBN, a private television news channel. "He was the last person seen in a compromising position with the girl."
Keeling's body was found on Anjuna beach in Goa, a tiny state with a coastline crowded with tourists and resorts.
Police initially believed she accidentally drowned because she was drunk, but her family accused the police of a cover-up and pushed for a second autopsy and further investigation.
The second autopsy also showed that she had drowned, officials said, but doctors identified more bruises on her back, shins and feet, prompting police to investigate the death as a murder.
"It was our main objective to get the police or somebody to acknowledge that she'd been murdered, as I knew in my heart that she had been," Fiona MacKeown, Keeling's mother, told British Broadcasting Corp. television. "I'm convinced that they were covering it up."
The family also believes that Keeling may have been sexually assaulted.
On Monday, the family called for the federal Central Bureau of Investigations to take over the case, saying they no longer had faith in local police.
"Scarlett's mother has no faith in police investigations," said Vikram Varma, a lawyer representing the family.
Also Monday, Goa Tourism Minister Francisco Pacheco called for Kumar, the Goa police chief, to be suspended.
George said he would conduct an internal inquiry into the investigation.
The case has become a serious embarrassment for local officials.
Keeling had been on vacation in India with her mother, her mother's boyfriend, and her five siblings. Keeling's family was traveling elsewhere in India when she died.