Teen-ager Admits Killing Girl, 7, for Earrings

A Kandal province teen-ager has confessed to killing a 7-year-old girl for her gold earrings, provincial police said Thursday.

Authorities have arrested Sao Thea, 17, and were preparing robbery and murder charges against him in the Tuesday slaying of his neighbor, Sroeur Theary, provincial Deputy Judicial Police Chief Tom Vai said.

Witnesses told police Sao Thea lured the girl to swim in a nearby stream in Prek Lou village, Ponhea Leu district, Tom Vai said. After a few minutes of swimming and diving in the water, Sao Thea crept up behind Sao Thea. Clutching her by the chin with one hand and gripping the crown of her head with his other hand, he jerked in opposite directions. It snapped Sroeur Theary’s neck, killing the girl, Tom Vai said.

Sao Thea took the girl’s $16 gold earrings, Tom Vai said. When he finished, the teen-ager wrapped Sroeur Theary’s body in mud and reeds and dragged it to a patch of underbrush near the stream, Tom Vai said.

When she did not return that evening, the girl’s family and other residents of the village searched for her, fearing that she had drowned, Tom Vai said. Sao Thea told worried relatives and friends that he had not seen the girl, the chief said.

A villager discovered Sroeur Theary’s body the next morning around 10 am, Tom Vai said.

Later Wednesday, police took Sao Thea into custody, the chief said. He had the girl’s earrings, police said. Sao Thea has since confessed to killing the girl in order to pawn the jewelry, Tom Vai said.

The chief could not provide information on Sao Thea’s court date late Thursday evening.

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