Malaysian police were searching Wednesday for the parents and the killer of an unidentified child, whose naked body was found in a sports bag left outside a shop.
Local newspapers published pictures of the girl's bruised face as police appealed to the public to come forward with information about her identity or about the crime, which has sent shock waves because of its gruesome nature.
"We publish this picture for the outrage. Outrage at the child-preying monsters out there among us," the New Straits Times daily said in a caption alongside the front-page picture. "Outrage that no parent has missed this child. Outrage that life in this country should be seared by anguish like this."
The body of the girl, believed to be less than 10 years old, was found Monday in a gym bag left at a row of shops in Kuala Lumpur. Local media reported that the girl was apparently sexually violated with objects and suffered massive bleeding.
No semen stains were found on the body, local police chief Arjunaidi Mohamed said, but declined to give further details, citing ongoing investigations.
"It's very unusual. It's very cruel," he told The Associated Press. "To me, the perpetrator is not a human being."
The Star reported bruises on the girl's neck indicated she may have been strangled. She also had bruises on her hands, the daily said.
Police are reportedly investigating links to two other cases where two girls, aged 5 and 6, were abducted and molested in Kuala Lumpur in the past months.
Local media reported a man on a motorbike persuaded the girls in the two separate cases to come with him. He dropped them off after molesting them, according to the reports.
The Malaysian Chinese Association, a party in the ruling National Front coalition, has announced a 20,000-ringgit (US$5,740; EUR4,140) reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the unidentified girl's murderer, said Michael Chong, a party official.
"It's something very abnormal. We have to get whoever did this out of the street," Chong said.