A 36-year-old man was arrested in Koh Kong province on Sunday night after he allegedly attempted to rape and then murdered his friend’s 15-month-old daughter by grabbing her by the legs and smashing her head against stones on the ground, local police said Monday.
Nak Ny, deputy police chief in Mondol Seima district, said that Le Dang Shuong had been living at the home of a friend in Bak Khlang commune for the past three months while the two of them worked together on a construction site.
After a day spent drinking palm wine with his friend, Ly Hai, Mr. Dang Shuong offered to take Mr. Hai’s toddler daughter, Ly Sinh, to buy some cake down the street at about 6 p.m. Sunday, Mr. Ny said.
When Mr. Dang Shuong failed to return home with Ly Sinh after more than an hour, the child’s parents began searching for the pair with a group of fellow villagers. They found the naked body of their daughter dumped in the trash about 500 meters from their home.
“A witness told police that the suspect grabbed the victim’s legs and smashed her head against some stones until she died,” Mr. Ny said.
“An examination of the girl’s body found bruising on the girl’s neck and head injuries. So the victim was strangled before her head was smashed against the stones.”
District and commune police officers then began a manhunt for Mr. Dang Shuong. They found him hiding behind a house at about 8 p.m. and arrested him.
“About 400 villagers surrounded the commune police station throughout the night, demanding that police give the suspect to them so they could kill him,” Mr. Ny said.
“The villagers threw rocks on the police station’s roof and destroyed the gate, but we did not arrest anyone because there were hundreds of people.”
Mr. Ny said officers escorted Mr. Dang Shuong to the provincial police station Monday morning, by which time the angry mob had dispersed.
Lay Menglaing, chief of the provincial police’s minor crimes bureau, said Mr. Dang Shuong likely tried to rape the child before killing her.
“The reason for the murder is because the suspect tried to rape the victim while he was drunk, but the girl bit his genitals and that made him angry,” Mr. Menglaing said.
“We concluded this because the victim’s body had no clothes on and the suspect’s genitals had bruising and teeth marks.”
Sok Nhor, chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau, said Mr. Dang Shuong was charged with premeditated murder by the provincial court Monday and sent to the provincial prison.