Crocodile Found Eating Remains of Missing Man, Cops Investigate Potential Foul Play

A crocodile was spotted eating human remains near a pond in India on Tuesday, local media reported. According to Hindustan Times, it is not clear if the man—who had gone missing several days prior—was killed by the crocodile, or if something more sinister happened.

Police are still awaiting the autopsy results.

Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday that the victim was identified as Sukhdev Singh Debu, a resident of the Raghuliya village in Khatima. Villagers told the outlet that Debu had gone for a walk in the Surai forest range three days prior. However, no one had seen or heard from him since.

In a statement obtained by The Filipino Times, divisional forest officer Kundan Kumar said that a local discovered a crocodile eating Debu's remains on Tuesday.

"When he reached his farm, he saw a crocodile eating a person near a pond. He immediately informed the other villagers and a crowd gathered at the spot," Kumar said.

"Village head Gurmej Singh informed police and forest officials about the incident, following which Surai forest range team rushed to the spot and found the crocodile devouring the dead body," he continued.

According to Hindustan Times, the area in which Debu was found is inhabited by mugger crocodiles and the gharial—two species of crocodile that Britannica said are dangerous to humans.

Mugger crocodiles, said Britannica, can grow to be between 13 and 16.5-feet long. Though they tend to prey on fish and other reptiles, they have been known to attack people. Data from CrocBITE via Britannica showed that mugger crocodiles attacked 110 people between 2008 and 2013. One-third of those attacks were fatal.

The gharial, on the other hand, does not typically attack humans, but the encyclopedia does note that the species has been known to feast on human remains.

As previously reported by Newsweek, crocodiles, in general, pose a threat to humans, because they are opportunistic feeders. Though they don't intend to attack humans, they won't discriminate when a mammal is near.

Kumar suspects that Debu was likely killed by the crocodile found feeding on his remains; however, police aren't entirely sure. Hindustan Times said that the autopsy results should tell investigators if he was involved in a crocodile attack, or if he was murdered and dumped in the pond.

"[I]t seems that he was killed by the crocodile, but the actual cause of death will be known after the post-mortem report is received," Kumar said.

Asian crocodile
A crocodile in India was reportedly found feeding on the remains of a missing man. Police are still awaiting the autopsy results to determine the man's cause of death. Tim Graham / Contributor/Getty