SYDNEY, March 4 A three-year-old Indian boy who went missing on Thursday while visiting Australia with his family has been found dead, the apparent victim of a homicide, police said.

The body of toddler Gurshan Singh was found by a council worker in long grass by the side of the road in north Melbourne, about 30kms from a relatives house where he was last seen alive on Thursday afternoon.

“Clearly, the circumstances are suspicious so we are fearing the worst,” Victoria Deputy Police Commissioner Ken Jones told reporters, the national AAP news agency reported.

“We are treating it ... as a homicide.” Jones said there were no suspects so far.

The boys mother, Hartreet Kaur Channa, told police she thought he had walked out of front door while she was in the shower and called police after he had been missing for 45 minutes.

Jones said the boys body was found fully clothed but said he could not say how he had died.

Gurshan was visiting Australia on holiday with his family and was due to return to India later this week. Punjabi-speaking police interpreters were talking with his parents.

Jones acknowledged the death would trigger huge media interest in India following a spate of attacks on Indians in Australia.

He called for calm and said the police would use all the resources at their disposal to ensure the killer was brought to justice.

“We are not ruling anything in or anything out,” he said.

“If foul play has taken place we will do everything in our power to find out what has taken place and to bring people to justice.” Attacks against Indians, including beatings and robberies, have been on the rise in Australia, threatening to damage diplomatic ties and the countrys US$15.4 billion education export industry.

Media outrage in India has been stoked by the unsolved murder of 21-year-old Punjabi student Nitin Garg in Melbourne in January.—AFP

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