A man who escaped into a sapodilla plantation after allegedly abducting a woman Tuesday night is being sought by authorities in Battambang province, police said Wednesday.
The 18-year-old woman was cleaning bean sprouts in the Sangke river behind her house shortly before 9 p.m. when her mother, who was in the house across the road, heard cries for help, according to Sangke district police chief Sun Sovan.
When the mother arrived at the scene, her daughter had disappeared and all that she could find were her flip-flops.
“The family of the missing girl hired a few people to dive down under the water to search because they were concerned she had fallen into the river, but they did not find her,” Mr. Sovan said. “Police and villagers dragged long nets along the bottom of the river many times but found nothing.”
Mr. Sovan said that police and locals worked through the night searching the river and the surrounding land for the 18-year-old, but to no avail.
Then, in the light of day, the villagers found a second pair of flip- flops and a pair of pink shorts stuck in the mud at the edge of the river near where the girl had disappeared, and identified them as belonging to a local man named Chan Kosal.
Police then went to Mr. Kosal’s house, where his wife confirmed that the items belonged to him, Mr. Sovan said.
After spending the whole day looking for the suspect, the search party, which by Wednesday afternoon included provincial police, spotted him at around 4 p.m. in a plantation about 500 meters from where the girl vanished.
“We saw the suspect and we tried to chase and arrest him but he fled very fast into a sapodilla plantation,” Mr. Sovan said, adding that police suspected Mr. Kosal intended to rape the victim.
At about 6 p.m. Wednesday, Mr. Sovan said police had no fresh leads to find the missing woman but were continuing their search.