15-Year-Old Girl Raped and Murdered; Police Identify Suspect

Municipal police have identified a suspect in the rape and murder of 15-year-old Vietnamese girl whose body was discovered on a riverbank late Sunday evening in Phnom Penh, they said on Monday.

Vietnamese national Chuob Srey­pov, a resident of Prey Veng province, was in Phnom Penh with her mother selling traditional yellow Narcissus flowers in the lead-up to Chinese New Year, said Huor Mengvang, deputy district police chief.

The victim spent Sunday celebrating the holiday with relatives in Meanchey district’s Chak An­gre Krom commune, leaving at around 3 p.m. to return to the home of an­other family member she was staying with in the same commune, though nobody reported her as miss­ing to police until 9 p.m., Mr. Mengvang said.

“The offender raped the girl and then drowned her in the river,” Mr. Mengvang said, adding that police had reached that conclusion because the victim was found half submerged in the water, with one hand clenching the reeds on the bank.

District police chief Teng Sino said the victim was found on the bank of the Bassac River behind Chak Angre Krom pagoda by police at around 9:30 p.m. but differed slightly in his version of events, saying that her body was thrown in the river after she was killed. He said a medical examination showed that she had been raped.

Eng Sorphea, chief of the mu­nicipal police’s serious crimes bu­reau, said police had identified a potential perpetrator and were “working to arrest the suspect,” but declined to give further details.

Sok Phal, the victim’s uncle, said the incident had left him and the rest of the family in shock.

“I feel very sorry for my niece. She was a lovely girl,” Mr. Phal said. “I want police to arrest and punish the perpetrator to the full­est extent of the law.”

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