Sustained beating led to the death of the first victim in the double murder case that came to light this week, Goa police said.
Two persons were arrested on Tuesday for murdering Shivaji Nayak (40) and his wife Sujata, and attempting to murder their two children, aged 6 and 4.
According to investigators, Nayak, a labourer who lived at Merces, near Panjim, was assaulted by a group of labourers at the behest of their contractor Osban Fernandes and another labourer, Ramesh Bhagwe.
Police today said that on Saturday night, Shivaji arrived drunk at the colony in Merces where the labourers lived and had a brawl with Bhagwe.
He was tied to a pole and Bhagwe assaulted him. "When Osban arrived at the scene, he ordered other labourers to hit Shivaji continuously," a senior police official said, adding that the attackers later tried to resuscitate Shivaji, but he was already dead.
Next morning, Fernandes had a pit dug with a JCB machine and buried the body. Two other pits were dug, to make it appear as if trees were being planted.
When Sujata approached the Old Goa police station to file a missing complaint, the accused thought of killing her too.
According to police, she was strangled and the body was dumped at Anmod ghat on Goa-Karnataka border on Monday night.
The couple's two children were also strangled and dumped in the ghat for dead, but they survived.
Osban and Ramesh have been remanded in five days' police custody, while other attackers are yet to be arrested.