In a disturbing incident, a 4-year-old child has been killed as part of an occult ritual to cure a priest's unknown illness.

The victim's father and a local temple priest were arrested in connection with the death, police said Wednesday. The child's body was found dumped in a river in the eastern Indian state of Assam.

"We were informed on Monday by the victim's eldest sister that her sister, who was sleeping with two other siblings and their grandmother, had been abducted by some unknown persons," Officer Sudhakar Singh told the Hindustan Times.

Police launched a search and found the victim's body in a nearby river Tuesday. While carrying out a search in the area, detectives found the child's clothes and some other items linked to some religious ritual.

"The recovery of the body and other items led us to suspect that it could be a case of witchcraft or human sacrifice. Our teams questioned several people and finally, the victim's father and a local priest have been arrested for involvement in the child's murder," Singh added.

The victim's father and the priest worked together in a tea garden. The man also used to work as a part-time helper in the priest's house, police said.

"Both accused have confessed to their involvement in the murder. Preliminary investigation revealed that the priest claimed to have dreamt that he had some incurable illness, which could be cured only with the sacrifice of a child. He disclosed this to the victim's father who decided to help him by offering his own child for the sacrificial ritual," Singh added.

The duo reportedly strangled the girl to death and then threw her body in the river. The girl's remains were sent for an autopsy, adding that more people might be involved in the case.

Nine people have been detained and are being questioned by police in connection with the incident, NDTV reported.

This is not the first human sacrifice case that has come to light in recent months. On Monday, police in the Indian state of Bihar said that an 8-year-old, who was suspected to have been raped and murdered, was actually killed as part of a human sacrifice. The girl's mutilated body with an eye gouged out was found on Aug. 5. While the victim's family alleged rape, an autopsy report ruled out sexual assault.

A local occultist reportedly advised a man to sacrifice a girl to prevent his wife's pregnancy from ending in a miscarriage. The man kidnapped the victim with the help of three other people. The accused then killed the girl, police said.

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