A statement released yesterday by the family of Canadian journalist Dave Walker, whose remains were found last week in Siem Reap, asserts that he was in fact murdered, and that Cambodian authorities are actively attempting to cover it up.
The lengthy statement, which was issued by Tammy Madon, Walker’s cousin and next of kin, said that a team of seven forensic experts from the Thai Ministry of Justice found that the 58-year-old had been murdered, and that Cambodian police were well aware of the finding, despite repeated statements that he died of natural causes.
“That Dave Walker was murdered is the undisputed professional conclusion of every investigator, Canadian and Cambodian government representative, and medical professional who witnessed and examined the scene and analyzed the body of Dave Walker,” the statement reads.
Walker first went missing on February 14, when he walked out of his guesthouse, leaving behind his phone, laptop and personal effects. His body was found on May 1 in a patch of forest at the Angkor Thom temple complex.
According to the statement, an autopsy has not yet been performed, and the Thai experts who conducted the examination recommended that Walker’s body be brought to Bangkok, where authorities have the technology and expertise to fully examine it, a request echoed by a Canadian government representative.
However, it continues, Cambodian police refused this request, and the representatives of the Canadian government who were present left Cambodia for Bangkok, leaving the body in refrigeration in a Siem Reap hospital and under the control of Cambodian authorities.
Officials at the Canadian embassy in Bangkok could not be reached for comment.
The statement went on to call the Canadian embassy’s apparent reluctance to conduct its own investigation, or to contradict the allegedly false statements made by Cambodian police an “embarrassment and betrayal of Canadian citizens”.
Touch Malai, deputy chief of the provincial technical and scientific police unit, continued to maintain yesterday that Walker had died of natural causes.
“I still say that there are no injuries that could be found on the body. The doctor from Thailand did the autopsy to determine whether it was Dave or not. We also did the autopsy, and the Cambodian doctor told us that Dave died of a heart attack,” he said. “So we just have our conclusion after our autopsy was completed. If Dave Walker’s family and friends have another conclusion, or suggest future investigations into the reason why Dave died, we will cooperate.” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THIK KALIYANN