Two children and their mother were killed by a man who said he believed the mother used black magic to kill his parents, Kratie provincial officials said.
Chhom An, 48, her 7-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son were killed with an ax as they slept in Kratie district Thursday night, police said.
Chhom An’s other daughter who is 9, spent the night at a neighbor’s house and escaped the attack.
Authorities said she may be sent to live at an orphanage in Phnom Penh because she has no relatives in Kratie who can care for her.
Phran Khet, 30, was arrested Friday and appeared in provincial court Saturday. He is accused of intentional killing, provincial Judicial Police Chief Chhoun Seang Sanghak said Tuesday.
Police tracked the suspect to his home 1 km away. Police said they found in the house the ax that they believe was used in the killings. Phran Khet has admitted to the killings, police said.
Neighbors of Phran Khet told police that his parents fell ill and died last year. But Phran Khet told police he believed that Chhom An used sorcery to kill them in revenge after Phran Khet’s father last year tried to rape Chhom An, who is divorced. He was ordered by authorities to pay about $46 in compensation. The money was paid, but soon afterward Phran Khet’s father and mother died.
Chhoun Seang Sanghak said police are considering whether Phran Khet killed Chhom An to avenge the compensation his father was forced to pay.
“The killing was not because of black magic,” he said.
If convicted, Phran Khet could face life in prison, said Penh Vibol, provincial deputy chief prosecutor.