RANAU, MALAYSIA - Mohd Raqib Mohd Rasli, 3, and his dog were like close friends who were always seen playing together.
But when Raqib was found dead with scratch and bite marks in a drain on Wednesday morning, all fingers were pointed at the dog named "Dit".
But police are now trying to ascertain if Dit actually killed the boy or if the canine just simply tried to save its companion.
A post-mortem revealed that the boy died from drowning.
Raqib, who celebrated his birthday a day earlier, had 38 wounds which were consistent with scratches and bites from a dog.
He was found face down in a half-metre deep drain with his shirt ripped apart.
The drain is just 20m away from his uncle's house in Kampung Matan, about 5km from here.
District police chief Deputy Superintendent Suhaimi Hasim said the boy, whose parents were separated, was close to the dog and both were always seen playing in the area.
"The post-mortem revealed that the boy did not die from his injuries," he said, adding that the wounds did not appear like the dog had mauled him.
"The bite marks were not deep and there were no wounds with exposed flesh. It looks as if the dog was playing with the boy or may have tried to pull him out of the drain."
And if the dog had attacked Raqib, who was asthmatic, there would probably be a commotion but according to witnesses, they did not hear anything out of the ordinary that day.
The boy was found by his uncle about 7.30am.
Suhaimi said no reports were lodged but police had information on what transpired and would carry out investigations.
Raqib, who also had an elder sister, was buried yesterday in Tambunan.
Meanwhile, Dit is still on the loose in the neighbourhood.
It is among five dogs owned by Raqib's uncle.
-New Straits Times