Warrant for Suspect in Murder of US Tourist

The Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of a man suspected of murdering an American woman whose decomposed body was discovered in a jungle area of Koh Rong island on October 1, the court president said Tuesday.

The body of the 55-year-old woman was not discovered until more than a week after she went missing. On September 23, she checked into the Island Palace Bungalows, left her bags and told staff she was going for a walk.

Police at the time surmised that Katherine Ann Grgich either fell while walking or died from a snake bite.

“The court issued the warrant to arrest the suspect a long time ago,” said the court president, Judge Mong Mony Chakrya, but did not give details of the suspect.

“We sent the arrest warrant to the police to find and arrest the suspect already,” he added.

The woman’s body was found after staff and other tourists went to search for her. Police initially ruled out foul play, but the U.S. Embassy at the time called for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death.

Kol Phally, deputy provincial police chief, said the suspect, whose name he would not reveal for fear it would hamper the arrest, had yet to be apprehended.

“Now we have identified the suspect and are trying to find him to arrest him,” he said.

“I think it is a murder case because the victim lost some property,” Mr. Phally added, but would not elaborate as to what had allegedly been stolen.

The deputy director of the provincial health department, Sechou Sethychot, said the woman’s body was so badly decomposed that it could not be properly examined.

“The victim’s corpse was cremated on Koh Rong” and the bones were delivered to representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Mr. Sethychot said.

The U.S. Embassy spokesman could not be reached for comment.

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