Police Identify Multiple Suspects in Brutal Double Murder

Police on Wednesday said they have identified more than one suspect in a brutal shooting on Monday that left a 30-year-old Canadia Bank employee and her 11-month-old nephew dead.

Tith Theara, manager of a Canadia Bank branch in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, was shot 14 times after she had returned from work to her home inside the Pochentong New Town Housing Complex in Pur Senchey district.

Witnesses at the scene reported that the shooter—who had been seen loitering in the residential area for several days—then crossed the street to Tith Theara’s sister’s home and discharged a single bullet into the head of her baby nephew, Yuth Theara.

The sole survivor was his mother, Tith Somalen, 35, a former wedding party singer who suffered a gunshot wound to her thigh.

In Bora, penal police chief at the Ministry of Interior, said Wednesday that district police have been cooperating with National Police and Military Police to find the gunman.

“We already know who the suspects are since we’ve started investigating with all the police forces since the gunfire occurred that caused two victims to be killed and another injured,” Mr. Bora said, declining to comment further.

After the shooting took place, police said initial investigations led authorities to believe that the real target of the shooting was Ms. Somalen and not her sister, Tith Theara.

Eng Sorphea, police chief of the municipal serious crime bureau, said investigators have heard from the family that Ms. Somalen’s husband had gone to Thailand, though the date of his departure and the reasons for him leaving Cambodia remain unclear.

“We heard from the family that he has gone to Thailand,” Mr. Sorphea said. “But it is not clear when he left.”

The police have posted guards at the private clinic where Ms. Somalen is recuperating to ensure her security, said Lieutenant General Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police.

“Now the police are trying to protect Tith Somalen and we asked the doctor to take care of her health because she is still a very important witness,” Lt. Gen. Chantharith said.

Family members have remained tight-lipped about the incident and Tith Theara’s husband declined to comment on the investigation. Police have said they are looking into a possible connection between the murders and a relationship Ms. Somalen was having with a married man in Stung Treng province.

Michael Lor, CEO of Canadia Bank, yesterday expressed his condolences to the family of Tith Theara. “Suffice to say that this unfortunate incident has no relevance to her work with the bank,” Mr. Lor said in an email, adding that Tith Theara was a “committed and dedicated colleague of the bank.”

“She is well-liked by both her colleagues as well as customers of her branch; and she would be deeply missed by all of us.”

(Additional reporting by Dene-Hern Chen)

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