The naked body of an 11-year-old girl, who police suspect was raped and murdered, was found Thursday near a pond in Pailin City, authorities said yesterday.
Pailin City police chief Ourn Saven said the body of Chan Srey Nich was found four days after the 11-year-old went missing in Pailin City’s Tuol Lvea commune, where she lived.
Chan Thearak, an investigator for human rights group Adhoc in Pailin province, said the victim’s neighbor is a suspect in the girl’s death, which police confirmed. Police declined to name the neighbor or provide an age.
Mr Saven said the girl went missing Monday night after leaving her home to search for fish and snails, something the victim’s mother said the girl often did at night. When Ms Srey Nich did not return at her usual time, Mr Saven said the parent’s searched the area around their home and then reported the girl missing in the morning.
He said police also conducted a search, but could not find the girl.
On Thursday, a fisherman found the girl near a pond and reported the body to police, Mr Saven said. The police chief said the girl was found about five meters from the pond’s bank and about 800 meters from her home.
“[She was] raped first and then killed,” Mr Saven said. “On the victim’s body, we saw she had an injured face and fractured head. The victim’s body was thrown into the reeds after being raped. We decided that the suspect killed the victim because he was scared the victim would report [the rape] to her mother.”
Authorities believe the girl was beaten with a heavy stick.
Mr Saven said police are continuing to investigate the murder and consider the victim’s neighbor to be the prime suspect. However, he said, police don’t have enough evidence to make an arrest. He said the police are waiting for the victim’s family to hold a funeral before bringing the suspect in for questioning.
“We’ll bring the suspect in to ask questions because the victim always went to catch fish with him,” Mr Saven said.
The police chief said two rape-murders have occurred in Pailin province so far this year. The Cambodia Daily has reported six rape-murders since July.