Two survivors of a massacre that killed five of their family members in Svay Rieng province on Wednesday were recovering in Phnom Penh hospitals but their conditions were still considered severe, according to a medical professional and a family member caring for the girls.
Officials allege that Kouch Sam Nang, 34, locked the door to his home in Svay Chrum district’s Svay Chrum commune and attacked his family, killing his wife Suk Tepi, 23, his infant son, two sisters-in-law and his mother-in-law after he was accused of raping his 16-year-old sister-in-law. He then hanged himself from a ceiling beam.
His 3-year-old daughter, Kouch Mey Ly, survived the attack and was recovering at Kantha Bopha Hospital on Friday. Loek Ngoa, a cousin, said the girl had just regained consciousness since the attack.
“I heard that she has problems with her head but the doctor will check again,” she said. “I was very shock when I saw what happened, I never thought that the suspect could attack like this. He was gentle”
So Mach, the 16-year-old sister-in-law, laid in a hospital bed at Preah Ket Mealea Hospital, covered by bandages and ice packs and watched over by nurses on Friday.
“The girl sustained a lot of injuries over her whole body but the most serious ones were on her head,” said a doctor who was treating the girl but declined to give his name.
“At first, we didn’t know if we could save her,” he said. “The x-ray showed a crack in the skull, so she is still in serious condition.”
Chieng Am, Svay Rieng provincial governor, said on Friday said a 12-year-old survivor of the attack reported to police that he witnessed the suspect attack his family around 3 am. He added that drugs might have been a factor in the attack because a normal person would not be able to kill their own family.
Provincial police chief Prach Roem said that the police believe it was premeditated murder because of the evidence and eyewitness testimony and that police were now investigating the suspect’s mental health background.
Sin Chan Dy, the sister-in-law of the suspect, said on Friday that the day before the attack her sister accusing the suspect of sexually assaulting So Mach and threatened to leave him.
“Because my sister became angry and threatened to not move to Kompong Speu province with the suspect, he started to think about revenge,” she said. “We never expected the suspect to do like this.”