The body of a four-year-old boy was partially eaten by animals after it was allegedly left unattended on the floor of a mortuary at a hospital in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.

The boy, identified as Sooraj Kumar, died on the spot after being hit by a vehicle while walking along the road Saturday morning. The family was told that an autopsy needed to be conducted as it was a case of an accident.

Following this, the family members took the boy’s body to the hospital where they were informed that the autopsy would be conducted the following morning. A staff member then asked the boy’s family to pay some money so that the body could be kept in a freezer.

On Sunday morning, the family arrived at the hospital and found the partially eaten body on the floor.

Speaking to The Times of India, the boy’s uncle said, "We took the body to the postmortem house of Sambhal district hospital. The staff there told us the autopsy would be conducted the following morning. A person who claimed to be a member of the staff there asked me to pay Rs.200 ($2.7) so the body could be kept in the freezer. When I reached the post mortem house the next morning, I saw his body on the floor. Animals had eaten away at it."

When questioned, the staff said the freezer was not working due to a technical glitch.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Speaking about how the animal may have entered the mortuary, a police officer told the Times of India, "The room where the body had been kept was inspected. There were some gaps between the door and the floor. The walls were also damaged in places. This is the first case that has come to light where a corpse kept in a locked mortuary room was attacked by an animal. But it is possible a mongoose entered the room."

Meanwhile, Sambhal's chief medical officer Dr. Amita Singh confirmed the autopsy has since been conducted.

"We have taken cognizance of the matter. The postmortem has been conducted, a probe has been ordered and action will be taken on the basis of its findings," she told the local daily.

Dead Body
This picture shows a dead body at a morgue. Getty Images/ Sanjay Kanojia