Women Confess to Beheading Suspected Sorcerer

The daughter-in-law of a suspected sorcerer whose headless corpse was discovered in Kompong Speu province on Friday has admitted to helping her aunt carry out the murder, police said on Monday.

Moa Channy, 33, who is married to the victim’s son, and her aunt Em Sun, 58, were arrested over the past two days after two boys informed authorities that they had seen the two women standing in a wooded area in Phnom Sruoch district’s Chambak commune shortly after hearing a man shout for help nearby, according to district police chief Say Bunthorn.

“The two boys saw two ladies and heard the sounds of someone shouting for help, but they did not know it was a murder,” Mr. Bunthorn said.

Under questioning at the provincial police headquarters, Ms. Sun admitted to killing Sao Siv, 62, as revenge for his using black magic to cause the death of her brother—Ms. Channy’s father—10 years ago, and said Ms. Channy had kept a lookout as she beheaded the man with a machete, he said.

Ms. Channy confessed to being an accomplice to the crime, saying she believed her father-in-law had caused the death of her father, according to the police chief.

He said Ms. Sun and Ms. Channy offered to show investigators where they buried the victim’s head and machete, but that police had yet to take them up on the offer, for fear that locals who also believed the victim was a sorcerer would meet officers with violence.

“The villagers are on the suspects’ side, so we could not bring either of the suspects to show us where they buried the evidence and the head of the body,” he said, adding that police had unsuccessfully scoured a mango plantation where the pair claimed to have buried the head and machete.

Deputy provincial police chief Som Sak said his officers would send the suspects to court today.

Suspected sorcerers are regularly threatened, attacked and killed in rural areas where villagers attribute illness and death to black magic.

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