The owner of the house, Mohinder Singh, has also been arrested, Rathore said, although it remained unclear whether he was believed to have taken part in the killings.

Rathore also said that police were still investigating, but that Satish had confessed and said he had lured the children to the house in Noida, a township just east of New Delhi, the capital, with the promise of sweets so he could sexually assault and kill them.

Investigation

Satish was found with a missing girl's mobile phone, and suspicious police went to the house, Rathore said. There, they were tipped off to the presence of bodies by the smell of decomposing corpses, Rathore told reporters.

Within hours of the grisly find, reports were filtering out that the remains of dozens more children may be buried at the house.

New Delhi Television, a news channel, reported that at least 38 children have gone missing in the neighbuorhood in the last few years, and that police had already recovered the remains of more than a dozen victims.

Asked about the report, police officials said it was too early to provide any exact figures.

At the home, meanwhile, police brought in a backhoe and bulldozer to help them dig through the yard as hundreds of people gathered in the streets to see what was happening.

Among the onlookers were parents of missing children.

One mother told reporters in comments broadcast on NDTV: "My youngest child has been missing for five years."