Police in Siem Reap City said yesterday they were questioning the stepfather of an 11-year-old girl found brutally raped and murdered early yesterday.
The body of Leng Kunthea, who lived with her mother, stepfather and two younger half-sisters, was found behind her home in Chung Khnies commune’s Phnom Krom village at around 1 am yesterday morning, according to Doung Sokha, deputy chief of the provincial penal police office.
“Our police officials are investigating who committed this crime,” he said.
Mok Sam Oun, deputy Siem Reap City police chief, said the girl had suffered injuries consistent with rape as well as a fractured skull and bruising to her neck, suggesting she died from strangulation or a blow to the head.
“We examined her body and found bleeding, bruising on her neck and a broken head,” he said. “This is a very brutal rape and murder case of an 11-year-old girl.”
Ms Kunthea’s stepfather, Sorm Phorn, had been detained for questioning, Mr Sam Oun said, but had so far denied any involvement with the attack.
The victim’s mother, Leng Phorn, 30, told police she had spent Monday evening at her job as a masseuse in Siem Reap City. When she returned home at around midnight, she realized her eldest daughter was not there, and saw her husband asleep.
She found her daughter’s body 4 meters behind the house, Mr Sam Oun said, adding there were no signs of a disturbance at the house and Mr Phorn was the only suspect in the case.
Mao Yin, Siem Reap provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said she interviewed Mr Phorn yesterday morning.
“He denied what happened to his stepdaughter. He said ‘I’m not involved,'” Ms Yin said. Mr and Ms Phorn have been living together since 2002, Ms Yin said, adding that most rapes of minors happen when the perpetrator was drunk.
So far this year, Adhoc has tallied 27 rape-murder cases nationwide, but in a report released last month, the Interior Ministry claimed that only three such cases had been recorded in the first six months of this year. The Cambodia Daily has reported 15 rape-murder cases and seven arrests in 2010.
Adhoc recorded 195 child rapes in the first seven months of this year, a number that represents nearly two-thirds of all reported rapes in 2010.
Contacted yesterday, Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak declined to comment on the scale of the problem of rape in Cambodia.
Lim Mony, deputy director of Adhoc’s women’s program, said that part of the problem was that many rapes were resolved through financial compensation, which fosters a climate of impunity.
“The police in the communes have to work hard to fully investigate every case and not let victims take money and drop the case,” she said.
(Additional reporting by Lucy Jordan)