A partially burnt and decomposed body of a woman was found behind an arrack shop in Muthialpet here on Friday.
The body was found after residents sensed a foul smell emanating from the area and alerted the police.
Superintendent of Police (North) S Ramaraj said the body could not be identified as the face was burnt beyond recognition.
Police, however, suspected the woman to be above 40 years of age and a victim of rape and murder. The culprits might have tried to burn the body to avoid identification.
A kerosene stove was also recovered not far from where the body was found, police said. They added that the body would have been rotting in the area for the past two days.
Superintendent of Police Ramaraj said two special teams were formed to investigate the suspected murder. He added that efforts were also on to identify the deceased.
A case was registered with Muthialpet police and further investigations were on.