Police in Pursat province who found the bodies of a mother and her two young children hanging from the rafters of their home yesterday are treating the case as a likely murder-suicide, but are still holding the husband in custody as a potential suspect.
Try Chhek, 30, and her two children—a 3-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old son—were found hanging from a roof beam inside their house at about 8 a.m. by the woman’s grandmother, according to Un Yuth, police chief of Veal Veng district’s O’som commune.
The grandmother then informed police, Mr. Yuth said, adding that autopsies of the bodies suggested that the three had died at about 10:30 p.m. the night before.
“We are investigating now and we are not sure whether it is murder or suicide yet,” he said.
However, district police chief Theang Leng said the lack of any signs of trauma, apart from those consistent with hanging, led police to believe that the mother had committed suicide.
“We conclude that the mother hanged her children one by one and then hung herself,” he said.
Mr. Leng said neighbors told the police that the woman was upset with her husband because of a mistress he had in the village, and that the husband claimed he was with the mistress on the night his wife and children died.
“The autopsy and the investigation of the scene did not show that the husband of the victim was involved, but we still have doubts,” he said, adding that the husband had been detained for questioning.
“We will investigate a bit more, and if we cannot find any evidence we will release him.”
The dead woman’s aunt, Mak Sok, said she knew her niece had arguments with her husband but did not believe she would take her own life.
“I don’t believe this; she would not decide to commit suicide,” she said.