NEW DELHI: A 24-year-old man accused of serial killing and rape confessed to murdering 15 children, Indian media reported.

Ravindra Kumar, who is under police custody for questioning, was arrested on July 15 for allegedly raping and killing a six-year-old in the city of Noida, Indian news website NDTV reported. The victim's strangled body was found in an under-construction building after her parents reported her missing a day earlier when she had got to a nearby field at night to relieve herself.

Kumar told NDTV that he was under the influence of alcohol and that if he had not been caught, he would have continued targeting minors.

According to police, Kumar's first crime took place in 2008 and the number increased over the next few years. He assaulted children by luring them with sweets and candies. He reportedly also sexually abused the corpses of his victims.

Kumar had eventually moved to Aligarh, where he abused five children, one of whom died. Subsequently in 2013, he raped two children while he was working as a labourer in Noida.

In 2014, he committed two more crimes in Samaypur Badli and one more in Begampur. He attempted to murder both children but according to police, the boy whose throat had been slit in Begumpur, survived.

"One of his victims, a six-year-old boy survived despite being drugged, sodomised, bludgeoned on the head and his throat slit. He was dumped near a gutter in Begumpur last year," Hindustan Times quoted an officer as saying.

Police added that Kumar's education was till the sixth grade and he worked as a driver and labourer. He also had a drug addiction.

When asked why he murdered his victims, Kumar told NDTV: "They made too much noise."

"If his victims began crying or shouting for help, he would close their mouths to silence them. In some cases, the children would be smothered to death but he would continue to sexually assault them," The Hindu quoted Deputy Commissioner of Police Vikramjit Singh as saying.

Kumar is reported to have targeted children of both genders. His case shocked the National Capital Region, where in 2006, bones of several young children were found in a drain in Noida. However, domestic help worker in a nearby house Surinder Koli was sentenced to life imprisonment for the serial killings, which were referred to as "the Nithari killings", named after the area where they took place.

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