Kratie Provincial Court on Friday charged a 19-year-old man with the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl in Prek Prasap district, police said.
Horm Samnang lived near Muon Sreyleak, whose naked body was found wedged in a tree after being strangled with her trousers on May 29 in Chroy Banteay commune, district police chief Sum Sokhim said.
“We suspect him because his answers and information coincide with the time of the rape,” Mr Sokhim said.
Mr Samnang returned from a rice field 200 meters from the victim’s house in Chroy Banteay commune just hours before her corpse was discovered there, Mr Sokhim said. At the time, the suspect denied seeing Ms Sreyleak when asked by her mother but later informed the police that he met the girl and told her to go home, Mr Sokhim said.
“Sreyleak’s mother asked [Mr Samnang] whether he had seen her daughter or not—he said he had not seen her,” Mr Sokhim said. “Nobody is being suspected besides him.”
An elderly woman claimed to have witnessed Mr Samnang return wearing little clothing to the village that morning looking exhausted, Mr Sokhim said.
“When he went to the rice field he wore a shirt and trousers…but when he entered the village he only wore a krama,” he said.
Mr Samnang was arrested on Friday when discharged from the provincial hospital where he was receiving treatment for malaria, provincial anti-human trafficking police chief Keo Srey Sey said.
Ms Sreyleak’s rape and murder is one of 12 reported by The Cambodia Daily this year and the second such case reported in Kratie province. According to local rights group Adhoc, there were 27 rape and murder cases nationwide last year.
“The suspect did not confess…. If found guilty, his act cannot go unpunished because it was very brutal,” provincial Adhoc coordinator Thim Narin said.