Suspicions of witchcraft led a 40-year-old Kompong Cham province man to kill his two young relatives—beheading one of them, provincial police said.
Authorities arrested Morn Tiev Wednesday after shooting him in both legs outside Ampil Chum village, and were preparing intentional murder charges against him for the deaths of Than Sopheak, 6, and his sister, Than Chhea, 8, according to Kompong Cham Deputy Chief of Judicial Police Seng Sokim. The dead were the children of Morn Tiev’s cousins, Seng Sokim said.
Officials say Morn Tiev confessed to killing the children because he believed their parents had cast a spell on him, Seng Sokim said. Morn Tiev had been sick, and believed the illness was a result of magic, Seng Sokim said.
On Tuesday evening while the children’s parents were out working their fields and the children were eating dinner, Morn Tiev crept into the house, Seng Sokim said. Holding a meter-long machete, he sneaked up on Than Chhea. Morn Tiev reared back and swung the blade, Seng Sokim said, cutting the boy’s head off.
Than Chhea ran from the table, trying to escape, Seng Sokim said. Morn Tiev grabbed her by the head with one hand. With the other, he sawed the machete back and forth on the girl’s neck, nearly decapitating the girl.
Morn Tiev then ran into the jungle, Seng Sokim said. At nightfall he returned, and tried to force his way into the home again. But the children’s parents began screaming for help. Morn Tiev again ran into the jungle, Seng Sokim said.
The next morning, Morn Tiev returned to his own home, still carrying the bloodied machete.
Shouting, Morn Tiev lunged at police who had staked out the house, Seng Sokim said. Officers fired a warning shot into the air, then shot him once in each leg, Seng Sokim said.
Morn Tiev was still hospitalized late Thursday, and will not appear in provincial court to answer the charges until after he is released, Seng Sokim said.