Takeo Provincial Court on Sunday charged a 22-year-old farmer with intentional murder after he allegedly raped and drowned a 16-year-old girl in Traing district, officials said.
Ly Mimen, 22, was arrested by police on Saturday morning after his neighbor Chhorm Sophany’s naked and bruised body was discovered near the bank of a canal in Smorng commune last week, said Un Khna, deputy provincial police chief for serious crime.
Evidence pointed toward Mr Mimen as the alleged perpetrator of the gruesome attack in which Ms Sophany was beaten, raped and drowned in standing water while out collecting snails to sell, Mr Khna said.
“We had a witness who saw only the suspect around there,” he said. Mr Mimen “claimed that he went to the area to gather grass for his cattle at home.”
Provincial prosecutor Meas Sopheak said Mr Mimen, who was detained in the provincial prison, had not confessed to the brutal rape-murder. “Even though the suspect did not confess, we still charged him according to the inculpatory evidence of the police,” Mr Sopheak said.
Provincial penal police chief Suon Phun said police had uncovered clues to indicate the suspect’s involvement but declined to disclose them. “We cannot reveal all the clues from the scene,” Mr Phun said. “We need to keep our sources confidential for further investigation into others involved.”
Ms Sophany’s injured body was found in a remote field obscured by tall grass, which complicated the search for evidence, Smorng commune police said last week. Police took more than five hours to find the teenage girl after her mother reported her missing on Oct 25.
Adhoc recorded 28 rape-murders during the first eight months of the year. However, in a report last month the Interior Ministry claimed to have recorded just three cases between January and June. The Cambodia Daily has reported 17 rape-murder cases and ten arrests in 2010.