A 13-year-old girl, whose disappearance sparked a desperate search by her family, has been found dead in a pond. Police believe she was raped and murdered.
Authorities in Prey Veng province are searching for a suspect in the rape and killing of the girl, who was from Sithor Kandal district’s Russei Sanh commune.
Yun Sokneth, Sithor Kandal district police chief, said yesterday that the victim was tending to her cattle in a rice field in her village on Saturday morning but never returned home.
Her family searched for her, he said, but on Sunday they discovered her body floating in a pond about one kilometre from the village. The family then contacted the police.
“The girl was raped, killed and thrown into a pond to destroy the evidence,” said Yun Sokneth.
“Our police are working hard to arrest the suspect,” Yun Sokneth said, adding that the rape and murder was the first case of its type to occur within his district.
He declined to comment on the identity of the suspect.
Lay Im, provincial monitor for the rights group Adhoc who works with the police, said yesterday that the suspect is thought to be a duck wrangler, who normally looks after birds but is now on the run.
“The wrangler is suspected to have killed the girl by breaking her neck and after knowing that the girl’s corpse was discovered, he immediately escaped from the village to avoid being arrested by police,” she said.
She added that although the girl’s family had not sought intervention from Adhoc yet, she would approach them soon in order to conduct a further investigation. Lay Im said that there have been five cases of rape so far this year in Prey Veng province.