Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Police in Pakistan arrested a suspect involved in the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl on Tuesday.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced the arrest of the key suspect in the death of Zainab Ansari, one of several minors to be raped and killed in or near Kasur.
"Zainab's suspected murderer and rapist is a 24-year-old man named Imran Ali," Sharif said. "Our collective efforts have borne fruit and the murderer has been arrested."
The suspect, who lived in the same area as Zainab, confessed to the crime, a police official told Al Jazeera.
"He was arrested before, but was released as we did not have evidence. After that, he shaved his beard off so that no one could recognize him," the official said.
Sharif said the suspect's DNA was tested and presented a 100 percent match with evidence found at the scene.
He is accused of raping and murdering seven other young girls over the course of two years.
At least two people died in protests denouncing police inaction after Zainab's death.
Zainab went missing on Jan. 4 and CCTV footage showing her walking with a potential suspect, led police to find her body in a trash heap about a mile away from her home.
Muhammad Amin Ansari, Zainab's father, thanked authorities for tracking down the suspect and called for him to be publicly executed.
"Zainab's father wants the man to be publicly hanged but the court will decide the future course of this case," Sharif said.
Sharif added the suspect will be held accountable for the deaths of the seven other girls as well.