A teenager was arrested in Kandal province on Saturday for drowning her 8-year-old neighbor in a rice field in order to steal her gold jewelry, which was worth about $30, police said Sunday.
Thach Sovanna, penal police chief in Ang Snuol district, said Oeun Sopheap, 16, had noticed the younger girl’s earrings and ring and managed to persuade the child to go with her to bathe in a stream in Damnak Ampil commune on Friday afternoon.
“They took a bicycle to the scene, where the suspect strangled the girl and held her head under the water while stepping on the back of her legs until she died,” he said, adding that the murder happened about a kilometer from the girls’ houses.
The teenager then took the earrings and ring to a local market, where she sold them to separate gold vendors for a total of 110,000 riel, or about $27.50, he said.
At about 4 p.m. that day, the mother of Kiet Sievly, the victim, returned home but couldn’t find her daughter, Mr. Sovanna said, so she informed police, who began a community-wide search.
“Some police went to search for the girl at the market and the vendors gave the jewelry to us and told us the identity of the seller. That’s how we got the trail,” he said.
Officers then went to Sopheap’s house at about 11 p.m. to question her, but she ran out the back door and hid.
The victim’s mother filed an official complaint to police at 9 a.m. the following morning as the search continued, according to the district police chief.
“Then at about 7:30 p.m., the suspect left and went into her home from her hiding spot because she wanted to eat dinner but her mother saw her and called us secretly and we went to arrest her,” he said.
After questioning at the district police station, the teenager took police to the scene of the crime, where they were able to recover the body, he said, adding that the suspect would be sent to court today.