Two young girls were raped and killed and found hung from a tree Wednesday in Pursat province, police said.
Nai Vinn, 11, and Phal Sophoeun, 14, had been missing since Monday and were found in the forest about 7 km south of their village in Krakor district, district police chief Ben Vanna said.
“This is a rape and murder case; it’s very cruel. They had been raped and strangled to death before they were hung up [by their necks] to confuse the authorities,” he said.
The police are still investigating and have not named a suspect, he said.
Police believe there may have been more than one person involved in the double murder, he added.
He also said the victims might have known the perpetrators, and that it was a premeditated crime because the perpetrators had brought along strong climbing rope, with which the girls were hung from the same branch of a tree.
Ben Vanna said a similar case occurred three years ago, when a 19-year-old woman had been found raped and strangled to death 3 km away from the same village.
There was never enough evidence to arrest or charge anyone in that case, he said, adding that though the latest rape and murders are similar, there is so far no indication they are related.
Nai Vinn and Phal Sophoeun, who were cousins living in Svay Sar commune’s Boeng Smuk village, had asked about noon Monday to be allowed to go into the forest and collect firewood, but their parents had told them not to go.
The parents noticed they were missing later that afternoon and notified police Tuesday, Ben Vanna said.
The bodies were found already decomposing, and the girls were likely killed Monday, he added.
“It is as a cruel case as I have ever met. It’s horrible…. It is unspeakable,” said Ngeth Theavy, provincial coordinator of rights group Adhoc and chief of the women’s section.
“It is very cruel, and we hope police will arrest the suspects soon.”
Adhoc is conducting its own investigation of the case, he added.