Blood Found in Probe of Frenchman’s Death

Cambodian and French investigators on Wednesday questioned the in-laws of a Frenchman and his four children whose decomposed bodies were found in a pond at their Kom­pong Speu province home more than a year ago and have sent samples of what may be human blood discovered inside their house for testing.

The remains of Laurent Vallier, 42, and his four children, aged 2 to 9, were found inside the French national’s submerged car when police pulled the vehicle out of a pond next to their house in January 2012.

Laurent Vallier’s family in France suspects foul play and has lodged a court complaint there alleging that he was involved in a bitter land dispute with his late Cambodian wife’s relatives, a claim the in-laws have denied.

Though local police suspect suicide, French investigators, who arrived in Cambodia on Sunday, have not ruled out murder.

Kompong Speu Provincial Court investigating Judge Chhim Ritthy said the French team—an investigating judge and nine scientific and forensic police—sprayed chemicals around the house that can detect the faintest traces of blood.

“The chemicals only work with monkey and human blood,” he said. “We saw the signs of blood in many places, but we couldn’t tell if it is monkey blood or something reacting to the chemical. They have to be taken for more testing,” Mr. Ritthy said of the bloodstains.

Mr. Ritthy said the investigators also questioned the mother, father and siblings of Laurent Vallier’s late wife at the French Embassy on Wednesday.

Srey Oun, the late wife’s sister, confirmed that her mother and father were questioned. Ms. Oun was also summoned for questioning today but she said she did not go to the court and declined to com­ment further.

About eight people were questioned Tuesday, including local officials in Kompong Speu, Laurent Vallier’s neighbors and someone who had taught his children.

The French Embassy declined to comment on the investigation while it is in progress.

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