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India

Suspects confess in rape, slaying of two teen girls

  • A police dog sits by the tree where two teenage girls were found hanging after they were gang raped in Katra village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)

    A police dog sits by the tree where two teenage girls were found hanging after they were gang raped in Katra village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)

  • Indian policemen cordon off the area as villagers and others look towards the tree where two teenage girls were found hanging after they were gang raped in Katra village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)

    Indian policemen cordon off the area as villagers and others look towards the tree where two teenage girls were found hanging after they were gang raped in Katra village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)

  • Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi interacts with women during his visit to a village where two teenage girls were gang raped and killed in Katra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)

    Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi interacts with women during his visit to a village where two teenage girls were gang raped and killed in Katra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)

  • A police dog sits by the tree where two teenage girls were found hanging after they were gang raped in Katra village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)
  • Indian policemen cordon off the area as villagers and others look towards the tree where two teenage girls were found hanging after they were gang raped in Katra village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)
  • Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi interacts with women during his visit to a village where two teenage girls were gang raped and killed in Katra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Police arrested a third suspect and hunted for two others Saturday in the gang rape and slaying of two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree, a case that has prompted national outrage. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)

Three men have confessed to the gang rape and slaying of two teenage girls who were found hanging from a tree in northern India, the police said yesterday, in a case that has recast a light on rampant sexual violence in the country.

Authorities continued to search for two additional suspects in last week’s attack on the 14- and 15-year-old cousins in Uttar Pradesh state, officer Atul Saxena said.

The girls, from an impoverished family with no toilets in their home in the tiny village of Katra, about 180 miles from Lucknow, the state capital, disappeared Tuesday night after going into fields to relieve themselves.

After the girls were found hanging from a mango tree Wednesday, hundreds of angry villagers stayed next to the tree, demanding that the police find the attackers before allowing them to remove the bodies. Indian television stations showed footage of the villagers sitting under the girls’ bodies as they swung in the wind.

The police arrested two suspects Wednesday and another Saturday.

When questioned by the police, the men admitted they had attacked the girls, Saxena said.

The suspects, who are cousins in their 20s from an extended family, face murder and rape charges, crimes punishable by the death penalty.

Saxena said the police were preparing identity sketches of the two missing suspects based on descriptions provided by the three men who were arrested.

Authorities also have arrested two police officers and suspended two others for failing to investigate when the father of one of the teenagers reported the girls missing Tuesday night.

Federal authorities are expected to take over investigation into the case this week, Saxena said.

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