High School Student Admits to Murder, Rape of Girl, 10

A high school student who confessed to killing a 10-year-old girl to cover up his crime after attempting to rape her will be questioned again today at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Hourn Sokheng, 17, admitted to strangling the girl and dragging her unconscious body into the Mekong River before drowning her, Tep Vandina, the police chief of Chroy Changva district’s Koh Dach commune, said on Sunday.

Villagers in Chroy Changva found the body of Deum Sokleak the next day and called authorities, Mr. Vandina added.

Police arrested Mr. Sokheng on Friday morning at about 10:30 a.m. after a tip-off from a witness, who saw the attempted rape, but did not understand at the time what was happening, he said.

Under questioning at the commune police station, the teenager said that he was riding a motorbike to his farm on Wednesday evening when he came across Deum Sokleak walking home from primary school and offered her a lift, Mr. Vandina said. He drove the schoolgirl to a quiet area and asked for sex. When she refused, he dragged her into the bushes and attempted to rape her.

The girl managed to escape, but Mr. Sokheng caught her and grappled her to the ground before strangling her. He then dragged her body to the river and held her under the water until she drowned.

“The suspect was afraid the victim would tell her parents what happened,” Mr. Vandina said.

Ek Sreyvuth, deputy district police chief, said Mr. Sokheng was questioned in court on Sunday and would be returned to court today, as police were seeking a murder charge.


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