A 12-year-old girl was raped and killed Saturday in Kratie province’s Prek Prasap district, where her parents discovered her naked body wedged in the branches of a tree with her trousers tied around her neck, police said.
The Cambodia Daily has reported on 10 rape and murder cases of women and children since January, with three rape-killings in May alone.
The latest victim, Muon Sreyleak, left her house Saturday morning to tend cattle in a rice field 200 meters away in Chroy Banteay commune, district police chief Sum Sokhim said.
At lunchtime, when the young girl did not return, her parents called the police and began to search for her, he said.
“At first we figured she probably lost her way, but after they found her body, it became a rape and murder case,” he said.
Mr Sokhim said the offender or offenders had strangled the girl with her trousers, bound her wrists behind her back, and placed her head and neck in the tree’s branches about a meter off the ground.
“The action that the offender did to the victim was very brutal,” he said, adding that it’s unclear how many attackers were involved.
The offender or offenders left few clues, he said, adding that the tall grass of the field may have obscured any evidence that could be used in the case.
“We are investigating to find the suspect, but we don’t have any clues yet. We hope sooner or later we will arrest the suspect,” he said.
In all of 2009 at least 27 women and children were raped and murdered, according to data from the local rights group Adhoc.
Five women and children were raped and murdered from January to April 2009, but seven women and children were raped and killed in the same period this year, said Ouk Kim Chantra, a monitor for Adhoc’s women and children rights program, adding there are similarities to many of the cases.
“Rape and murder usually happens to girls who are alone. The victims know the suspects, who then kill them to hide evidence,” she said. “All the cases are very brutal.”
Ms Chantra said authorities need to actively pursue the perpetrators of the latest child rape and murder and not allow or negotiate any compromises between the victim’s family and arrested suspects.
“We should pay high attention to arrest the suspect and punish them by the law,” she said.
Samreth Vanna, a provincial monitor for Adhoc, said two people so far this year have been raped and killed in Kratie.
“We are very concerned about this issue,” he said.