U.S. officials joined police Thursday in the investigation into the murder of William Glenn, the 43-year-old man from Mississippi found strangled to death and wrapped in a curtain in a garbage pile on the outskirts of Phnom Penh on Thursday, police said.
Investigators have yet to establish a motive for his murder, according to municipal penal police chief Eng Sorphea.
“Three officials from the U.S. Embassy joined the police investigation today, two Khmer men and one American [man] in civilian clothes,” he said. “We still don’t know the reasons behind this case but we are working very hard to identify the perpetrators.”
The body of the victim, who had only arrived in Cambodia from Bangkok two months ago and worked as an English teacher at several schools in the city, was discovered along a dirt road in Prek Pnov district.
Villagers reported seeing a tuk-tuk and motorcycle drive down the dirt road at 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning and then stop at the dumpsite, less than three hours before the body was found.
The victim’s wife, 44-year-old Nittaya Glenn, said from Bangkok that she had recently separated from her husband of five years but continued regular phone contact until communication stopped on Tuesday.
“He called me many times and said that some Cambodian people wanted something from him —he was afraid and wanted to leave quickly,” she said. The last time the two spoke was on Monday night, she said.
“I told him to move to China, where he worked before for six months. I told him I would pay for his flight so he could go,” she said.
Ms. Glenn said that she has not been notified by Cambodian or U.S. authorities of her husband’s death, and learned of it only when she could not contact him and searched the Internet for his name. She said she then phoned her husband’s mother in the U.S. and informed her of her son’s death.
Ms. Glenn said her husband had a drinking problem and could sometimes be aggressive but the problems had never been severe enough during their marriage to get him into serious trouble.
“Yes, we had marital problems like many people and he sometimes got into fights when he was drunk—but I don’t understand that in five years in Bangkok it was always sorted out, yet in two months in Cambodia he is murdered,” she said.
At Tattoo Guesthouse on Street 125 in Prampi Makara district, where the victim had been staying since May 25, receptionist Y Makara said police and “the FBI” had spent four hours searching the victim’s room on Thursday and taken all his belongings as evidence.
He said he was surprised when the victim did not return on Tuesday night because he usually kept to his routine, leaving at about 6:30 a.m. for work and returning in the evening.
“He was always sitting alone writing in a book or on his laptop, but he came back every night even at the weekends,” he said.
On arriving in Phnom Penh, William Glenn first checked into Green Guesthouse, further down Street 125, just after midnight on May 4 after arriving on a bus from Bangkok, 22-year-old receptionist Kim Chhern said.
“I only spoke to him when he arrived but when I saw him he was always alone and often drunk, though he was no trouble and only complained about the Internet,” he said.