The Kampong Cham man suspected of brutally murdering his children, wife and mother-in-law with a scythe in a drunken rage on Monday night has been killed in a hit-and-run incident police believe to have been a suicide attempt.
The suspect, 47-year-old Eng Thy, had a history of domestic abuse and was last seen fleeing into rice fields towards neighbouring Kampong Thom province.
His time on the run appears to have been short-lived, however, as his disfigured corpse was found by a tractor driver in the commune of Koki Thom in Kampong Thom’s Baray district on Tuesday night, just 8 kilometres away from his house in Kampong Cham’s Chamkar Leu district.
“[Thy] knew he could not escape, that’s why he chose to kill himself,” said Heang Meng, the police chief of Speu commune, where Thy lived.
“I think he ran into a truck purposefully, because if the truck had simply run him over, his whole body would have been injured, but in this case only the head was broken, so we concluded that he pushed his head under a truck wheel to die.”
A Kampong Cham police report said the vehicle sped off and remains unidentified. It added that the corpse’s fingerprints matched the ones Thy had on his identification card.
Meng said Thy was so hated in his community that his corpse was left in the hands of Koki Thom commune police to be buried in Kampong Thom.
Thy was the prime suspect in the gruesome murder of his 45-year-old wife, Chanthy Sopheany, daughter Thy Seangy, 6, son Thy Seya, 4, and his mother-in-law, 64-year-old Mao Yeang. Police said on Tuesday that they had nearly been decapitated by the force of the blows that killed them.
Thy’s father-in-law, 69-year-old Svay Sakhorn, was the only survivor of the attack, and remains in critical condition at Phnom Penh’s Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.
Relatives of Thy’s in-laws yesterday expressed disappointment at the man’s apparent suicide, saying it was too easy a death.
Chanty Votey, the 25-year-old sister of Thy’s wife, said she wanted to do to Thy what he had done to her family.
“It is not enough for me; I wanted to chop him up like he did to my parents, my sister, and her children,” she said. “I used to live with Eng Thy a few years ago, he did this because my father used to have him arrested and handcuffed when he used violence against my sister.”
Votey’s older brother, 26-year-old Veasna, expressed similar sentiments, adding that his father remained in intensive care after an operation yesterday.