Suspect in Rape-Murder Case Helped Search for Own Victim

Police in Kratie province on Sunday arrested a cassava plantation worker over the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl—the daughter of a commune police chief—on Friday.

Deputy Sambor district police chief Chhin Sambo said the family of the O’Krieng commune police chief reported Khun Maly missing on Friday afternoon, and that authorities recovered the girl’s body from a pond about 3 km from her house the next day.

Mr. Sambo said Ka Sovan, 23, was called in for questioning Sunday morning, because he was known to have been near the scene of the crime when it occurred, and confessed to raping and murdering the girl.

The deputy police chief said Mr. Sovan, who worked with the girl’s brother on a nearby plantation, had even helped in the search for Khun Maly and found the body in the pond, claiming at the time to have only just discovered it.

“He helped the victim’s family and police find the victim and he also pretended to find the victim’s body in the pond and told the family,” Mr. Sambo said.

Once Mr. Sovan came in for questioning, Mr. Sambo added, “He panicked and acted strange. Finally, he confessed that he did it.”

Mr. Sambo said an examination of the body confirmed that the girl was raped and that her neck was broken, adding that shoe prints near the pond matched those often worn by the suspect.

The deputy police chief said Khun Maly had gone looking for her parents after school at a plantation they owned in the area when she walked by Mr. Sovan.

“When they met each other, the suspect grabbed the girl and took her to another place,” he said. “There, the suspect raped the girl and broke her neck and put her in the pond.”

Huot Limheang, who heads the provincial serious crimes police, said the suspect was being held at his office and would likely be sent to the provincial court to be charged tomorrow.

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Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the victim was the daughter of the O’Krieng commune chief. She was the daughter of the commune police chief.

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