New York: The killing of a nine-year-old Indian girl from Punjab by her stepmother took a sordid turn on Sunday when authorities arrested her ex-husband and accused him of helping her hide. Raymond Narayan was accused of helping his ex-wife Shamdai Arjun Pardas leave her home after allegedly strangling her stepdaughter on Friday and trying to hide her in his house, Ron Brown, the top public prosecutor for the New York city district of Queens, said in a statement on Sunday. Meanwhile, Pardas was produced in Queens Criminal Court on Sunday and formally charged before Judge Gerald Beibovitz with murdering Ashdeep Kaur, who had come from India to the US about three months ago to join her father. "This is a horrifying case of a child, a defenceless nine-year-old, who was left in the care of her stepmother who allegedly strangled her to death," Brown said. "Her actions, if true, are beyond comprehension and must be severely punished." Judah Maltz, Pardas' lawyer, asked the judge to place her in protective custody in jail, the New York Daily News reported. This will keep her away from other prisoners as New York jails are notorious for brutal attacks by fellow inmates on those accused of heinous crimes, especially those involving children. When authorities produced her in the court, she wore a white jump suit made of a tough plastic material, Tyvek.