Listen to StitcherIn most Nepali villages, footpaths and dirt roads criss-cross and wend around fields and homes, like a tangled web spun by centuries of local history. But Sangarshanagar, a village near the Indian border in Bardiya District, is an anomaly: its homes form neat lines along straight, flat, dirt roads laid out on a grid. Villagers grow rice, wheat, and mustard in evenly-sized, rectangular fields. Sangarshanagar’s layout is distinctive because it is new. The village was born in the early 2000s when the Nepal government cleared part of a forest on the east bank of the Karnali - Nepal’s second largest river - and distributed the land to freed kamaiyas, bonded laborers from the Tharu ethnic group indigenous to the region. Kamaiyas had worked in slave-like conditions for large landholders until debt bondage was outlawed in 2000. Among the roughly 100,000 kamaiyas freed across the country at that time, over 600 families settled in Sangarshanagar - a name that translates to“Struggleville.” Remnants of the original forest still surround the village on all sides, like a green fortress wall that separates it from the outside world. Though the national media often overlooks stories from places like Sangarshanagar, the village made a brief blip on newsfeeds late last year, when a local teenager was found dead in the adjoining forest. The police insisted the girl’s death was a suicide, but her family, friends, teachers, and neighbors refused to accept this explanation, believing instead she was murdered. In January 2019, The Record and The Wire began a joint investigation into the case, interviewing police, medical professionals, the girl’s family, friends, teachers, and local politicians and civil society leaders. The investigation revealed serious shortcomings in how the case was handled, and points to systemic issues in how the Nepal police investigate suspicious deaths – particularly when the victims are poor and marginalized.