Girl Found in Ditch Likely Raped, Murdered

Police are analyzing DNA samples to try and determine if a 9-year-old girl found dead in a ditch in Kandal province on Wednesday was raped before being murdered.

Mey Sreymao went missing almost two weeks before her body—twisted and clothed only in a T-shirt—was found about 700 meters from her family’s house in Mok Kampoul district.

She was last seen alive playing with four friends near the house in Prek Anhchanh commune before her parents returned home at around 5 p.m. from work to find her missing, deputy district police chief Nou Savuth said on Thursday.

“We think it is rape and murder,” he said, citing her lack of clothing, the positioning of her lower body, and the fact that there was no water nearby in which she could have drowned.

Due to the state of decomposition, he said that the body had likely been there since the night she went missing, but it was now too difficult to determine if there were any bruises or marks on the body.

James McCabe, chief of investigations for the Child Protection Unit, a wing of the Cambodian Children’s Fund, said it was possible she had been in the ditch since the night of her disappearance.

“Given the state of decomposition, it’s possible. She was there for a considerable amount of time,” he said on Thursday. “The smell would have been quite pungent.”

“We have taken DNA samples, but there are indications from the lack of clothing that something is not normal,” he said.

Tith Bunna, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s scientific police department, confirmed that DNA samples from the victim’s vagina had been taken for testing. But given the length of time she had laid in the ditch, he said he was not confident in recovering usable evidence.

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