The search for a young woman reported missing this week in Battambang province ended tragically yesterday, with the discovery of her body in the Stung Sangke River, though police also announced the arrest of her alleged killer.
According to police, suspect Chan Kosal confessed that he had stalked the victim, 18-year-old Chham Sreyroth, with the express purpose of raping her, then killed her when she resisted.
On the night of the murder, he said, he hid in a patch of bamboo by the river and waited, knowing that she liked to wander alone after helping her mother with the daily chores.
“At first, I just wanted to rape her, and I had no intention to kill her, but she resisted and screamed for help from her mother,” Kosal, a 21-year-old fisherman from Sangke district’s Wat Tamim village, allegedly told the police.
Sreyroth reportedly stabbed Kosal in the stomach with a pair of scissors from her pocket in self-defence. Enraged, he then beat her unconscious before dragging her to the riverbank.
Preparing to rape her, he said he heard the victim’s mother and brother come out of their house to look for her, he said he dragged her into the water before swimming away to hide in a patch of sapodilla trees.
Police apprehended Kosal when he returned to his house yesterday.
“The suspect was charged with intentional murder and was sent to Battambang Provincial Court for further procedures,” said Som Sovann, acting police chief of Sangke district.
Local villagers contacted yesterday said that the victim and the suspect had once been romantically involved, but that the relationship was ended when the victim’s family disapproved of the match. Later on, the suspect married another girl in the same village.
But the victim’s brother, Chham Thy, yesterday denied this story, saying his sister had never been involved with her alleged killer.
“Our family will file a complaint to demand $5,000 and ask the court to severely punish the suspect so that justice will be done for my sister,” he said.